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*  A  meok  and  quiet  spirit,  which  is  in  the  sight  of  God  of  great  pricew" 
1  P-pter,  3:4. 

4  ^  O    ^ 

BV    REV. 





D.  Fft&Abaw  Printer. 

In  this  edition  a  few  passages  are  omitted,  and  the 
phraseology  in  some  instances  modernized. 



Chap.  I.  The  Nature  of  Meekness,  5 

Cluietness  of  Spirit,  32 

Chap.  II.  The  Excellency  of  Meekness,  40 

<Chap.  III.  Want  of  Meekness  lamented,  78 


— Scripture  Precepts,  88 

Chap.  V.  Scripture  Patterns,  99 

Chap.  VI.  When  Meekness  is  specially  required,  118 

Chap.  VII.  Arguments  for  Meekness,  133 

Chap.  VIII.  Some  Rules  of  Direction,  .       145 

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Meekness  is  easiness  of  spirit ;  not  a  sinful  easi- 
ness to  be  debauched,  as  Ephraim's,  who  willingly 
walked  after  the  commandment  of  the  idolatrous 
princes  ;  nor  a  simple  easiness  to  be  imposed  upon 
and  deceived,  as  Rehoboam's,  who,  when  he  was 
forty  years  old,  is  said  to  be  young  and  tender- 
hearted ;  but  a  gracious  easiness  to  be  wrought 
upon  by  that  which  is  good,  as  theirs  whose  heart 
of  stone  is  taken  away,  and  to  whom  a  heart  of  flesh 
is  given.  Meekness  accommodates  the  soul  to  every 
occurrence,  and  so  makes  a  man  easy  to  himself, 
and  to  all  about  him.  The  Latins  call  a  meek  man 
■mansuetus,  which  alludes  to  the  taming  and  reclaim- 
ing of  creatures  wild  by  nature,  and  bringing  them 
to  be  tractabl'e  and  familiar.  James,  3:  7,  8.  Man's 
corrupt  nature  has  made  him  like  the  wild  ass  used 


to  the  wilderness,  or  the  swift  dromedary  traversing 
her  ways.  Jer.  2  :  23,  24.  But  the  grace  of  meek- 
ness, when  that  gets  dominion  in  the  soul,  alters  the 
temper  of  it,  submits  it  to  management ;  and  now  the 
wolf  dwells  with  the  lamb,  and  the  leopard  lies  down 
with  the  kid,  and  a  little  child  may  lead  them  ;  for 
enmities  are  laid  aside,  and  there  is  nothing  to  hurt 
or  destroy.    Isa.  1 1 :  6,  9. 

Meekness  may  be  considered  with  respect  both  io 
God  and  to  our  brethren ;  it  belongs  to  both  the  ta- 
bles of  the  law,  and  attends  upon  the  first  great  com- 
mandment, Thou  shalt  love  the  Lord  thy  God ;  as 
well  as  the  second,  which  is  like  unto  it.  Thou  shalt 
love  thy  neighbor  as  thyself;  though  its  especial  re- 
ference is  to  the  latter. 

I.  There  is  meekness  toward  God,  and  it  is 
the  easy  and  quiet  submission  of  the  soul  to  his 
whole  will,  according  as  he  is  pleased  to  make  it 
known,  whether  by.  his  word  or  by  his  providence. 

1.  It  is  the  silent  submission  of  the  soul  io  the  word 
of  God :  the  understanding  bowed  to  every  divine 
truth,  and  the  will  to  every  divine  precept;  and  both 
without  murmuring  or  disputing.  The  word  is  then 
an  "  engrafted  word,"  when  it  is  received  with  meek- 
ness, that  is,  with  a  sincere  willingness  to  be  taught, 
and  desire  to  learn.  Meekness  is  a  grace  that  cleaves 
the  stock,  and  holds  it  open,  that  the  word,  as  a  shoot, 
may  be  grafted  in ;  it  breaks  up  the  fallow  ground, 
and  makes  it  fit  to  receive  the  seed ;  captivates  the 

ITS    NATURE.  *  / 

high  thoughts,  and  lays  the  soul  like  white  paper 
under  God's  pen.  When  the  day-spring  takes  hold 
of  the  ends  of  the  earth,  it  is  said  to  be  turned  as  clay 
to  the  seal.  Job,  38  :  14.  Meekness  does,  in  like 
manner,  dispose  the  soul  to  admit  the  rays  of  divine 
light,  which  before  it  rebelled  against ;  it  opens  the 
heart,  as  Lydia's  was  opened  ;  and  sets  us  down  with 
Mary  at  the  feet  of  Christ,  the  learner's  place  and 

The  promise  of  teaching  is  made  to  the  meek,  be- 
cause  they  are  disposed  to  learn  :  "  the  meek  will  he 
teach  his  way."  The  word  of  God  is  gospel  indeed, 
"  good  tidings  to  the  meek ;"  they  will  entertain  it 
and  bid  it  welcome.  The  "  poor  in  spirit "  are  evan 
gelized ;  and  Wisdom's  alms  are  given  to  those  that 
Avith  meekness  wait  daily  at  her  gates,  and  like  beg- 
gars wait  at  the  posts  of  her  doors.  Prov.  8  :  34. 
The  language  of  this  meekness  is  that  of  the  child 
Samuel,  ♦'  Speak,  Lord,  for  thy  servant  heareth ;" 
and  that  of  Joshua,  who,  when  he  was  in  that  high 
post  of  honor,  giving  command  to  Israel,  and  bid- 
ding defiance  to  all  their  enemies,  (his  breast  filled 
with  great  and  bold  thoughts,)  yet,  upon  the  intima- 
tion of  a  message  from  heaven,  thus  submits  himself 
to  it :  "  What  saith  my  Lord  unto  his  servant  ?"  and 
that  of  Paul,  (and  it  was  the  first  breath  of  the  new 
man,)  "  Lord,  what  wilt  thou  have  me  to  do  ?"  and 
that  of  Cornelius,  ♦'  And  now  we  are  all  here  present 
before  God,  to  bear  all  things  that  are  commanded 


thee  of  God;"  and  that  of  the  good  man  I  have 
read  of,  who,  when  he  was  going  to  hear  the  w^ord, 
used  to  say,  "  Now  let  the  word  of  the  Lord  come ; 
and  if  I  had  six  hundred  necks,  I  would  bow  them 
all  to  the  authority  of  it."  To  receive  the  w^ord  with 
meekness,  is  to  be  delivered  into  it,  as  into  a  mould  : 
this  seems  to  be  Paul's  metaphor,  Rom.  6:17,  that 
"  form  of  doctrine  which  was  delivered  you."  Meek- 
ness softens  the  wax,  that  it  may  receive  the  impres- 
sion of  the  seal,  whether  it  be  for  doctrine  or  reproof, 
for  correction  or  instruction  in  righteousness.  It 
opens  the  ear  to  discipline,  silences  objections,  and 
suppresses  the  risings  of  the  carnal  mind  against  the 
word ;  consenting  to  the  law  that  it  is  good,*  and  es- 
teeming all  the  precepts  concerning  all  things  to  be 
right,  even  when  they  give  the  greatest  check  to 
flesh  and  blood. 

2.  It  is  the  silent  submission  of  the  soul  to  the 
'providence  of  God,  for  that  also  is  the  will  of  God 
concerning  us. 

(1.)  When  the  events  of  Providence  are  grievous 
and  afflictive,  displeasing  to  sense  and  crossing  our 
secular  interests,  meekness  not  only  quiets  us  under 
them,  but  reconciles  us  to  them  ;  and  enables  us  not 

*  True  meekness  will  prevent  ns  from  opposing  either 
the  obvious  parts  of  Scripture,  severely  as  they  may  task, 
our  vices,  or  the  mysterious  parts,  in  reading  which,  vanity 
may  suggest  that  we  could  have  dictated  what  is  more  pro- 
(fitable. — Avgusline. 


only  to  bear,  but  to  receive  evil  as  well  as  good  at 
the  hand  of  the  Lord ;  which  is  the  excellent  frame 
that  Job  argues  himself  into:  it  is  to  kiss  the  rod, 
and  even  to  accept  of  the  punishment  of  our  iniquity, 
taking  all  in  good  part  that  God  does ;  not  daring 
to  strive  with  our  Maker,  no,  nor  desiring  to  pre- 
scribe to  him,  but  being  dumb,  and  not  opening  the 
mouth,  because  God  does  it.  How  meek  was  Aaron 
under  the  severe  dispensation  which  took  away  his 
sons  with  a  particular  mark  of  divine  wrath  !  He 
'•  held  his  peace."  God  was  sanctified,  and  there- 
fore Aaron  was  satisfied,  and  had  not  a  word  to  say 
against  it.  Unlike  to  this  was  the  temper,  or  rather 
the  distemper  of  David,  who  was  not  like  a  man  af- 
ter God's  own  heart,  when  he  was  displeased  be- 
cause the  Lord  had  made  a  breach  upon  Uzzah,  as 
if  God  must  have  asked  David  leave  thus  to  assert 
the  honor  of  his  ark.  When  God's  anger  is  kindled, 
ours  must  be  stifled  ;  such  is  the  law  of  meekness, 
that  whatsoever  pleases  God  must  not  displease  us. 
David  was  in  a  better  frame  when  he  penned  the 
56th  Psalm,  the  title  of  which,  some  think,  bespeaks 
the  calmness  and  submissiveness  of  his  spirit  when 
the  Philistines  took  him  in  Gath.  It  is  entitled.  The 
silent  dove  afar  off.  It  was  his  calamity  that  he  was 
afar  off,  but*  he  was  then  as  a  silent  dove ;  (mourning 
perhaps,  Isa.  38 :  14  ;)  but  not  murmuring,  not  strug- 
gling, not  resisting,  when  seized  by  the  birds  of 
prey;  and  the  Psalm  he  penned  in  this  frame  was 


Michtam,  a  golden  Psalm.  The  language  of  this 
meekness  is  that  of  Eli,  "  It  is  the  Lord  ;"  and  that 
of  David  to  the  same  purport,  "  Here  am  I,  let  him 
do  to  me  as  seemeth  good  unto  him.''  Not  only, 
He  can  do  what  he  will,  subscribing  to  his  power, 
for  who  can  stay  his  hand  ?  or,  He  may  do  what 
he  will,  subscribing  to  his  sovereignty,  for  he  gives 
not  account  of  any  of  his  matters  ;  or,  He  will  do 
what  he  will,  subscribing  to  his  unchangeableness, 
for  he  is  in  one  mind,  and  who  can  turn  him  ? — -but, 
Let  him  do  what  he  will,  subscribing  to  his  wisdom 
and  goodness,  as  Hezekiah,  *'  Good  is  the  word  of 
the  Lord,  w^hich  thou  hast  spoken."  Let  him  do 
what  he  will,  for  he  will  do  what  is  best ;  and  there- 
fore if  God  should  refer  the  matter  to  me,  says  the 
meek  and  quiet  soul,  being  well  assiwred  that  he 
knows  what  is  good  for  me  better  than  I  do  for  my- 
self, I  would  refer  it  to  him  again  ;  "  he  shall  choose 
our  inhcri:ance  for  us." 

(2.)  When  the  methods  of  Providence  are  dark 
and  intricate,  and  we  are  quite  at  a  loss  what  God 
is  about  to  do  with  us — his  way  is  in  the  sea,  and 
his  path  in  the  great  Avaters,  and  his  footsteps  are 
not  known,  clouds  and  darkness  are  round  about 
him — a  meek  and  quiet  spirit  acquiesces  in  an  as- 
surance that  all  things  shall  work  together  for  good 
to  us,  if  we  love  God,  though  we  cannot  apprehend 
how  or  which  way.  It  teaches  us  to  follow  God 
v/ith  an  implicit  iaith,   as  Abraham  did  when  he 

ITS    NATURE.  11 

went  out,  not  knowing  whither  he  went,  hut  knowing 
very  well  whom  he  followed.  It  quiets  us  with  this, 
that  though  what  he  doeth  we  know  not  now,  yet 
we  shall  know  hereafter.  John,  13:7.  When 
poor  Job  was  brought  to  that  dismal  plunge,  that  he 
could  no  way  trace  the  footsteps  of  Divine  Provi- 
dence, but  was  almost  lost  in  the  labyrinth,  Job,  23  : 
8,  9,  how  quietly  does  he  sit  down  with  this  thought, 
*'  But  He  knows  the  way  that  I  take  ;  when  he  hath 
tried  me  I  shall  come  forth  as  gold."  , 

II.  There  is  meekness  toward  our  breth-I^ 
REN,  toward  "all  men."  Tit.  3:2.  Meekness  isr 
especially  conversant  about  the  affection  of  anger, 
not  wholly  to  extirpate  and  eradicate  from  the  soul 
the  holy  indignation  of  which  the  Scriptures  speak, 
for  that  were  to  quench  a  coal  which  sometimes 
there  is  occasion  for,  even  at  God's  altar,  and  to 
blunt  the  edge  even  of  the  spiritual  weapons  with 
which  w^e  are  to  carry  on  our  spiritual  warfare  ;  but 
its  office  is  to  direct  and  govern  this  affection,  that 
we  may  be  angry  and  not  sin.  Eph.  4  :  26. 

Meekness,  in  the  school  of  the  philosophers,  is  a 
virtue  consisting  in  a  mean  between  the  extremes  ot 
rash  excessive  anger  on  the  one  hand,  and  a  defect 
of  anger  on  the  other ;  a  mean  which  Aristotle  con- 
fesses it  very  hard  exactly  to  gain. 

Meekness,  in  the  school  of  Christ,  is  one  of  the 
fruits  of  the  Spirit.  Gal.  5  :  22,  23  ;  it  is  a  grace 
wrought  by  the  Holy  Ghost  both  as  a  sanctifier  and 


as  a  comforter  in  the  hearts  of  all  true  believers, 
teaching  and  enabling  them  at  all  times  to  keep  their 
passions  under  the  conduct  and  government  of  reli- 
gion and  right  reason.  I  observe  that  it  is  wrought 
in  the  hearts  of  all  true  believers,  because,  though 
there  are  some  whose  natural  temper  is  unhappily 
sour  and  harsh,  yet  wheresoever  there  is  true  grace, 
there  is  a  disposition  to  strive  against,  and  strength 
in  some  measure  to  conquer  such  a  disposition.  And 
though  in  this,  as  in  other  graces,  an  absolute  sinless 
perfection  cannot  be  expected  in  this  present  state, 
yet  we  are  to  labor  after  it,  and  press  towards  it. 

More  particularly:  the  work  and  office  of  meek- 
ness is  to  enable  us  prudently  to  govern  our  own 
anger  when  at  any  time  we  are  provoked,  and  pa- 
tiently to  bear  the  anger  of  others,  that  it  may  not  be 
a  provocation  to  us.     The  former  is  its  office  espe- 
cially in  superiors,  the  latter  in  inferiors,  and  both 
in  equals. 
^        1.  Meekness  teaches  us  prudently  to  govern  our 
i   own  anger,  whenever  any  thing  occurs  that  is  pro- 
I^Hoking.     As  it  is  the  work  of  temperance  to  mode- 
/j\t^L  rate  our  natural  appetites  in  things  that  are  pleasing 
'p^Xto  sense,  so  it  is  the  work  of  meekness  to  moderate 
'    ^  our  natural  passions  against  those  things  that  are 
displeasing  to  sense,  and  to  guide  and  govern  our 
resentments.     Anger  in  the  soul  is  like  mettle  in  a 
horse,  good  if  it  be  w^ell  managed.     Now  meekness 
is  the  bridle,  as  wisdom  is  the  hand  that  giv-es  law  to 


ITS    NATURE.  13 

it,  puts  it  into  the  right  way,  and  keeps  it  in  an  even, 
steady,  and  regular  pace ;  reducing  it  when  it  turns 
aside,  preserving  it  in  a  due  decorum,  and  restrain- 
ing it  and  giving  it  check  when  at  any  time  it  grows 
headstrong  and  outrageous,  and  threatens  mischief 
to  ourselves  or  others.  It  must  thus  be  held  in,  like 
the  horse  and  mule,  with  bit  and  bridle,  lest  it 
break  the  hedge,  run  over  those  that  stand  in  its 
way,  or  throw  the  rider  himself  headlong.  It  is 
true  of  anger,  as  we  say  of  fire ;  that  it  is  a  "  good 
servant,"  but 'a  "bad  master;"  it  is  good  on  the 
hearth,  but  bad  in  the  hangings.  Meekness  keeps 
it  in  its  place,  sets  banks  to  this  sea,  and  says,  Hi- 
therto thou  shalt  come,  and  no  further ;  here  shall 
thy  proud  waves  be  stayed. 

In  reference  to  our  own  anger,  when  at  any  time 
we  meet  with  the  excitements  of  it,  the  work  of 
meekness  is  to  do  these  four  things  : 

(1.)  To  consider  the  circumstances  of  that  which 
we  apprehend  to  be  a  provocation,  so  as  at  no  time 
to  express  our  displeasure  but  upon  due  and  ma- 
ture deliberation.  The  office  of  meekness  is  to  keep 
reason  upon  the  throne  in  the  soul  as  it  ought  to  be ; 
to  preserve  the  understanding  clear  and  unclouded, 
the  judgment  untainted  and  unbiassed  in  the  midst 
of  the  greatest  provocations,  so  as  to  be  able  to  set 
every  thing  in  its  true  light,  and  to  see  it  in  its  own 
color,  and  to  determine  accordingly;  as  also  to  keep 
silence  in  the  court,  that  the  ♦*  still  small  voice  "  in 

/       14      ^  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

which  the  Lord  is,  as  he  was  with  Elijah  at  Mount 
Horeb,  may  not  be  drowned  by  the  noise  of  the  tu- 
mult of  the  passions.  A  meek  man  will  never  be 
angry  at  a  child,  at  a  servant,  at  a  friend,  till  he  has 
first  seriously  weighed  the  cause  in  just  and  even 
balances,  while  a  steady  and  impartial  hand  holds 
the  scales,  and  a  free  and  unprejudiced  thought  ad- 
judges it  necessary.  It  is  said  of  our  Lord  Jesus, 
John,  11:33,  he  troubled  himself;  which  denotes 
it  to  be  a  considerate  act,  and  what  he  saw  reason 
for.  Things  go  right  in  the  soul,  when  no  resent- 
ments are  admitted  into  the  affections  but  what  have 
first  undergone  the  scrutiny  of  the  understanding, 
and  thence  received  their  pass.  That  passion  which 
comes  not  in  by  this  door,  but  climbs  up  some  other 
way,  the  same  is  a  thief  and  a  robber,  against  which 
we  should  guard.  In  a  time  of  war,  (and  such  a 
time  it  is  in  every  sanctified  soul,  in  a  constant  war 
between  grace  and  corruption,)  due  care  must  be 
taken  to  examine  all  travelers,  especially  those  that 
come  armed :  whence  they  came,  whither  they  go, 
whom  they  are  for,  and  what  they  would  have '? 
Thus  should  it  be  in  the  well-governed,  well-disci- 
plined soul.  Let  meekness  stand  sentinel ;  and 
upon  the  advance  of  a  provocation  let  us  examine 
who  it  is  that  we  are  about  to  be  angry  with,  and 
for  what  ?  What  are  the  merits  of  the  cause,  where- 
in lay  the  offence,  what  was  the  nature  and  tenden- 
cy of  it  ?     What  are  likely  to  be  the  consequences 

ITS    NATURE.  15 

of  our  resentments,  and  what  harm  will  it  be  if 
we  stifle  them,  and  let  them  go  no  further?  Such 
as  these  are  the  interrogatories  which  meekness 
would  put  to  the  soul ;  and  in  answer  to  them  it 
would  abstract  all  which  passion  is  apt  to  suggest, 
and  hear  reason  only  as  it  becomes  rational  crea- 
tures to  do. 

Three  great  dictates  of  meekness  we  find  put  to- 
gether in  one  scripture :  •'  Be  swift  to  hear,  slow  to 
speak,  slow  to  wrath ;"  which  some  observe  to  be 
couched  in  three  proper  names  of  Ishmael's  son,; 
Gen.  25:  14.  I  Chr.  1:  30,  (which  Bishop  Pri-' 
deaux,  in  the  beginning  of  the  wars,  recommended  to 
a  gentleman  that  had  been  his  pupil,  as  the  sum- 
mary of  his  advice,)  Mishma,  Dumah,  Massa;  the 
signiiication  of  which  is,  hear,  keep  silence,  bear. 
Hear  reason,  keep  passion  silent,  and  then  you  will 
not  find  it  difficult  to  bear  the  provocation. 

It  is  said  of  the  Holy  One  of  Israel,  when  the 
Egyptians  provoked  him,  he  weighed  a  path  to  his 
anger;  so  the  margin  reads  it  from  the  Hebrew, 
Psalm  78 :  50.  Justice  first  poised  the  cause,  and 
then  anger  poured  out  the  vials.  Thus  the  Lord 
came  down  to  see  the  pride  of  the  Babel-builders 
before  he  scattered  them ;  and  to  see  the  wickedness 
of  Sodom  before  he  overthrew  it — though  both  were, 
obvious  and  barefaced — to  teach  us  to  consider  be- 
fore we  are  angry,  and  to  judge  before  we  pass  sen- 
tence, that  herein  we  may  be  followers  of  God  as 


dear  children,  and  be  merciful,  as  our  Father  which 
is  in  heaven  is  merciful. 

We  read  of  "the  meekness  of  wisdom  ;'*  for  where 
there  is  not  wisdom,  (that  wisdom  which  is  profita- 
ble to  direct,  that  wisdom  of  the  prudent  which  is  to 
understand  his  way,)  meekness  will  not  long  be  pre- 
served. It  is  our  rashness  and  inconsideration  that 
betray  us  to  all  the  mischiefs  of  an  ungoverned  pas- 
sion, on  the  neck  of  which  the  reins  are  laid  which 
should  be  kept  in  the  hand  of  reason,  and  so  we  are 
hurried  upon  a  thousand  precipices.  Nehemiah  is 
a  remarkable  instance  of  prudence  presiding  in  just 
resentments ;  he  owns,  "  I  was  very  angry  when  I 
heard  their  cry ;"  but  that  anger  did  not  at  all  trans- 
gress the  laws  of  meekness,  for  it  follows,  *'  then  I 
consulted  with  myself,"  or  as  the  Hebrew  has  it,  my 
heart  consulted  in  me.  Before  he  expressed  his  dis- 
pleasure he  retired  into  his  own  bosom,  took  time 
for  sober  thought  upon  the  case,  and  then  he  rebuk- 
ed the  nobles  in  a  very  solid,  rational  discourse,  and 
the  success  was  good.  In  every  cause  when  pas- 
sion demands  immediate  judgment,  meekness  mov<  s 
for  further  time,  and  will  have  the  matter  fairly  ar- 
gued, and  counsel  heard  on  both  sides. 

When  Job  had  any  quarrel  with  his  servants,  he 
was  willing  to  admit  a  rational  debate  of  the  matter, 
and  to  hear  what  they  had  to  say  for  themselves ; 
for,  says  he,  "what  shall  I  do  when  God  riseth 
up  ?"  And  withal,  "  did  not  He  that  made  me  in  the 

ITS    NATURE.  17 

womb,  make  him  ?"  When  our  hearts  are  at  any 
time  hot  within  us,  we  should  do  well  to  put  that 
question  to  ourselves  which  God  put  to  Cain,  Gen. 
4  :  6.  Why  am  I  wroth  ?  Why  am  I  angry  at  all  ? 
Why  so  soon  angry  ?  Why  so  very  angry  ?  Why 
so  far  transported  and  dispossessed  of  myself  by  my 
anger  1  What  reason  is  there  for  all  this  ?  Do  I 
well  to  be  angry  for  a  gourd,  that  came  up  in  a 
night  and  perished  in  a  night  ?  Jonah,  4  :  9.  Should 
I  be  touched  to  the  quick  by  such  a  sudden  and  tran- 
sient provocation?  Will  not  my  cooler  thoughts 
correct  these  hasty  resentments,  and  therefore  were 
it  not  better  to  check  them  now  ?  Such  are  the  rea- 
sonings of  the  meekness  of  wisdom. 

(2.)  The  work  of  meekness  is  to  calm  the  spiriU_ 
so  as  that  the  inward  peace  may  not  be  disturbed  bj' 
any  outward  provocation.  No  doubt  a  man  may  ex- 
press his  displeasure  against  the  miscarriages  of  an- 
other, as  much  as  at  any  time  there  is  occasion  for, 
without  suffering  his  resentments  to  recoil  upon  him- 
self, and  throw  his  own  soul  into  a  fury.  What  need 
is  there  for  a  man  to  tear  himself  (his  soul,  as  it  is 
in  the  Hebrew)  in  his  anger?  Job,  18  :  4.  Cannot 
we  charge  home  upon  our  enemy's  camp,  without 
the  willful  disordering  of  our  own  troops  ?  Doubt- 
less we  may,  if  meekness  have  the  command ;  for 
that  is  a  grace  which  preserves  a  man  master  of 
himself  while  he  contends  to  be  master  of  another, 
and  fortifies  the  heart  against  the  assaults  of  provo- 
cation that  do  us  no  great  harm,  while  they  do  not 

18  •  HENRY    ON    MKEKNESS. 

rob  us  ot  our  peace,  nor  disturb  the  rest  of  our  souls. 
As  patience  in  case  of  sorrow,  so  meekness  in  case 
of  anger,  keeps  possession  of  the  soul,  as  the  expres- 
sion is,  Luke,  21 :  19,  that  we  be  not  dispossessed  of 
that  freehold.  The  drift  of  Christ's  farewell-sermon 
to  his  disciples  we  have  in  the  first  words  of  it,  John, 
16:  J,  "  Let  not  your  hearts  be  troubled."  It  is  the 
duly  and  interest  of  all  good  people,  whatever  hap- 
pens, to  keep  trouble  from  their  hearts,  and  to  have 
them  even  and  sedate,  though  the  eye,  as  Job  ex- 
presses it,  should  *'  continue  "  unavoidably  "  in  the 
provocation"  of  this  world.  "The  wicked  (the  tur- 
bulent and  unquiet,  as  the  word  primarily  signifies) 
are  like  the  troubled  sea  when  it  cannot  rest;-'  but 
that  peace  of  God,  which  passeth  all  understanding, 
keeps  the  hearts  and  m.inds  of  all  the  meek  of  the 
earth.  Meekness  preserves  the  mind  from  being 
ruffled  and  discomposed,  and  the  spirit  from  being 
unhinged  by  the  vanities  and  vexations  of  this  lower 
world.  It  stills  the  noise  of  the  sea,  the  noise  of  her 
waves,  and  the  tumult  of  the  soul ;  it  permits  not  the 
passions  to  crowd  out  in  a  disorderly  manner,  like  a 
confused  ungoverned  rabble:  but  draws  them  out 
like  the  trained  bands,  every  one  in  his  own  order, 
as  wisdom  and  grace  give  the  word  of  command. 

(3.)  Meekness  will  curb  the  tongue,  and  "keep 
the  mouth  as  vi^ith  a  bridle"  when  the  heart  is  hot. 
Even  when  there  may  be  occasion  for  a  keenness  of 
expression,  and  we  are  called  to  rebuke  sharply, 
(cuttingly,  Tit.  1  :  13,)  yet  meekness  forbids  all  fury 

ITS    NATURft.  19 

and  indecency  of  language,  and  every  thing  that 
sounds  like  clamor  and  evil-speaking.  The  meek- 
ness of  Moses  was  not  at  hand  when  he  spake  that 
unadvised  word,  "  rebels,"  for  which  he  was  shut 
out  of  Canaan,  though  rebels  they  were,  and  at  that 
time  very  provoking.  Men  in  a  passion  are  apt  to 
give  reviling  language,  to  call  names,  and  those 
most  senseless  and  ridiculous :  to  take  the  blessed 
name  of  God  in  vain,  and  so  profane  it.  It  is  a 
wretclied  w-ay  by  which  the  children  of  hell  vent 
their  passion  at  their  beasts,  their  servants,  any  per- 
son,  or  any  thing  that  provokes  them — to  swear  at 
I  hem.  Men  in  a  passion  are  apt  to  reveal  secrets, 
to  make  ra«h  vows  and  resolutions,  which  after- 
wards prove  a  snare,  and  sometimes  to  slander  and 
belie  their  brethren,  and  bring  railing  accusations, 
and  so  do  the  devil's  work  ;  and  to  speak  that  "  in 
iheir  haste"  concerning  others,  Ps.  116:11,  of 
which  they  afterwards  see  cause  to  repent.  How 
brutishly  did  Saul,  in  his  passion,  call  his  own  son, 
the  heir-apparent  to  the  crown,  the  "  son  of  the  per- 
verse rebellious  woman  !"  "  Raca  "  and  "  Thou  fool" 
are  specified  by  our  Savior  as  breaches  of  the  law  of 
the  sixth  commandment ;  and  the  passion  in  the 
heart  is  so  far  from  excusing  such  opprobrious 
speeches,  (for  which  purpose  it  is  commonly  alledg- 
ed,)  that  really  it  is  that  w^hich  gives  them  their  ma- 
lignity :  they  are  the  smoke  from  that  fire,  the  gall 
and  wormw^ood  springing  from  that  root  of  bitterness ; 
and  if  for  "  every  idle  word  that  men  speak,"  much 


more  for  such  wicked  words  as  these,  must  they  give 
an  account  at  the  day  of  judgment.  And  as  it  is  a 
reflection  upon  God  to  kill,  so  it  is  to  curse  men 
that  are  made  after  the  image  of  God,  though  even 
so  much  our  inferiors;  that  is,  to  speak  ill  of  them, 
or  to  wish  ill  to  them. 

This  is  the  disease  Avhich  meekness  prevents,  and 
is  in  the  tongue  a  "  law  of  kindness."  It  is  to  the 
tongue  as  the  helm  is  to  the  ship,  Jam.  3  :  4,  not  to 
silence  it,  but  to  guide  it,  to  steer  it  wisely,  espe- 
cially when  the  wind  is  high.  If  at  any  time  we  have 
conceived  passion  and  thought  evil,  meekness  will 
lay  the  hand  upon  the  mouth,  (as  the  wise  man's  ad- 
vice is,  Prov.  30  :  32,)  to  keep  that  evil  thought  from 
venting  itself  in  any  evil  word  reflecting  upon  God 
or  our  brother.  It  will  reason  a  disputed  point  with- 
out noise,  give  a  reproof  without  a  reproach,  con- 
vince a  man  of  his  folly  without  calling  him  a  fool, 
will  teach  superiors  either  to  forbear  threatening, 
Eph.  6  :  9,  or,  as  the  margin  reads  it,  to  moderate  it ; 
and  will  look  diligently  lest  any  root  of  bitterness, 
springing  up,  trouble  us,  and  thereby  we  and  many 
others  be  defiled. 

(4.)  Meekness  will  cool  the  heat  of  passion  quick- 
ly, and  not  sufler  it  to  continue.  As  it  keeps  us 
from  being  soon  angry,  so  it  teaches  us,  when  we 
are  angry,  to  be  soon  pacified.  The  anger  of  a 
meek  man  is  like  fire  struck  out  of  steel,  hard  to  be 
got  out,  and  when  it  is,  soon  gone.  The  wisdom 
that  is  from  above,  as  it  is  *'  gentle,"  and  so  not  apt  to 

ITS    NATURB.  21 

provoke,  so  it  is  "  easy  to  be  entreated  "  when  any 
provocation  is  given  ;  and  has  the  ear  always  open 
10  the  first  proposals  and  overtures  of  satisfaction, 
submission,  and  reconciliation ;  and  thus  the  anger 
is  turned  away.  He  that  is  of  a  meek  spirit  will  be 
forward  to  forgive  injuries  and  affronts,  and  has  some 
excuse  or  other  ready  wherewith  to  extenuate  and 
qualify  the  provocation,  which  an  angry  man,  for 
the  exasperating  and  justifjang  of  his  own  resent- 
ments, will  industriously  aggravate.  It  is  but  to 
say,  "  There  is  no  great  harm  done,  or,  if  there  be, 
there  was  none  intended,  and  peradventure  it  was 
an  oversight ;"  and  so  the  offence,  being  looked  at 
through  that  end  of  the  perspective  which  diminish- 
es, is  easily  past  by,  and  the  distemper  being  taken 
in  time,  goes  off  quickly,  the  fire  is  quenched  before 
it  gets  head,  and  by  a  speedy  interposal  the  plague 
is  stayed.  While  the  world  is  so  full  of  the  sparks 
of  provocation,  and  there  is  so  much  tinder  in  the 
hearts  of  the  best,  no  marvel  if  anger  come  some- 
limes  into  the  bosom  of  a  wise  man;  but  it  rests 
only  in  the  bosom  of  fools.  Eccl.  7  :  9.  Angry 
thoughts,  as  other  vain  thoughts,  ma}'-  crowd  into 
the  heart  upon  a  sudden  surprise,  but  meekness  will  |\ 
not  suffer  them  to  lodge  there,  nor  let  the  sun  go  "^ 
down  upon  the  wrath ;  Eph.  4  :  26,  for  if  it  do,  there 
is  danger  lest  it  rise  bloody  the  next  morning.  Anger 
concocted  becomes  malice ;  it  is  the  wisdom  of  meek- 
ness, by  proper  applications,  to  disperse  the  humor 
before  it  comes  to  a  head.  One  would  have  thought, 


when  David  so  deeply  resented  Nabal's  abuse,  that 
nothing  less  than  the  blood  of  Nabal  and  all  his 
house  could  have  quenched  his  rage ;  but  it  was 
done  at  a  cheaper  rate ;  and  he  showed  his  meek- 

t  ness  by  yielding  to  the  diversion  that  Abigail's  pre- 
sent and  speech  gave  him,  and  that  with  satisfaction 
and  thankfulness.  He  was  not  only  soon  pacified, 
but  blessed  her.  and  blessed  God  for  her  that  paci- 
fied him.  God  does  not  contend  for  ever,  neither 
is  he  always  Avroth ;  "  his  anger  endures  but  a  mo- 
ment." How  unlike  him  are  those  whose  sword 
devours  for  ever,  and  whose  anger  burns  like  the 
coals  of  juniper?  But  the  grace  of  meekness,  if  it 
fail  of  keeping  the  peace  of  the  soul  from  being  bro- 
ken, yet  fails  not  to  recover  it  presently,  and  make 
up  the  breach ;  and,  upon  the  least  transport,  brings 
help  in  time  of  need,  restores  the  soul,  puts  it  in 
frame  again,  and  no  great  harm  is  done.  Such  as 
these  are  the  achievements  of  meekness  in  govern- 
ing our  own  anger. 

k!^>  2.  Meekness  teaches  and  enables  us  patiently  to 
\Siar  the  anger  of  others,  which  property  of  meek* 
ness  we  have  especially  occasion  for  in  reference 
to  our  superiors  and  equals.  Commonly  that  which 
provokes  anger  is  anger,  as  fire  kindles  fire ;  now 
meekness  prevents  that  violent  collision  which  for- 
ces out  these  sparks,  and  softens  at  least  one  side, 
and  so  puts  a  stop  to  a  great  deal  of  mischief;  for  it 
is  the  second  blow  that  makes  the  quarrel.  Our 
first  care  should  be  to  prevent  the  anger  of  others, 


by  giving  no  offence  to  any,  but  becoming  all  things 
to  all  men,  every  one  studying  to  please  his  neigh- 
bor for  good  to  edification,  Rom.  15:2,  and  endea- 
voring as  much  as  lies  in  us  to  accommodate  our- 
selves to  the  temper  of  all  with  whom  we  have  to  do, 
and  to  make  ourselves  acceptable  and  agreeable  to 
them.  How  easy  and  comfortable  should  we  make 
every  relation,  and  all  our  intercourse,  if  we  were 
but  better  acquainted  with  this  art  of  obliging.  Nap- 
thali's  tribe  that  was  famous  for  giving  goodly  words. 
Gen.  49  :  21,  had  the  happiness  of  being  satisfied 
with  favor,  Deut.  33  :  23,  for  "  every  man  shall  kiss 
his  lips  that  giveth  a  right  answer."  In  the  conju- 
gal relation  it  is  taken  for  granted,  1  Cor.  7 :  33,  34, 
that  the  care  of  the  husband  is  to  please  his  wife, 
and  the  care  of  the  wife  is  to  please  her  husband ;  and 
where  there  is  that  mutual  care,  enjoyment  cannot  be 
wanting.  Some  people  love  to  be  unkind,  and  take 
a  pleasure  in  displeasing,  and  especially  contrive  to 
provoke  those  they  find  passionate  and  easily  pro- 
voked, that  (as  he  that  giveth  his  neighbor  drink,  and 
putteth  his  bottle  to  him,  Hab.  2  :  15,  16,)  they  may 
look  upon  his  shame,  to  which,  in  his  passion,  he  ex- 
poses himself;  and  so  they  make  a  mock  at  sin,  and 
become  like  the  madman  that  casts  firebrands,  ar- 
rows, and  death,  and  says,  *' Am  not  I  in  sport?" 
But  the  law  of  Christ  forbids  us  to  provoke  one  an- 
other, unless  it  be  "  to  love  and  good  works ;"  and  en- 
joins us  to  "  bear  one  another's  burdens,  and  so  fulfill 
the  law  of  Christ." 



But  because  they  must  rise  betimes  who  will 
please  every  body ;  and  carry  their  cup  even  indeed 
who  will  give  no  offence;  our  next  care  must  be  so 
to  behave  ourselves  when  others  are  angry,  that  we 
may  not  make  bad  worse.  And  this  is  one  princi- 
"  pal  thing  in  which  the  younger  must  submit  them- 
selves to  the  elder;  nay,  in  w^hich  all  of  us  must  be 
"  subject  one  to  another,"  as  our  rule  is,  1  Pet.  5  :  5. 
And  here  meekness  is  of  use,  either  to  enjoin  silence 
or  indite  a  soft  answer. 

(1.)  To  enjoin  silence.  It  is  prescribed  to  ser- 
vants to  please  their  masters  well  in  all  things,  "  not 
answering  again,"  for  that  must  needs  be  displeas- 
ing: better  say  nothing  than  say  that  which  is  pro- 
voking. When  our  hearts  are  hot  within  us,  it  is 
good  for  us  to  keep  silence,  and  hold  our  peace :  so 
David  did  ;  and  when  he  did  speak,  it  was  in  prayer 
to  God,  and  not  in  reply  to  the  wicked  that  w^ere 
before  him.  If  the  heart  be  angry,  angry  words 
will  but  inflame  it  the  more,  as  wheels  are  heated 
by  a  rapid  motion.  One  reflection  and  repartee  be- 
gets another,  and  the  beginning  of  the  debate  is  like 
the  letting  forth  of  \vater,  w^hich  is  with  difficulty 
stopt  when  the  least  breach  is  made  in  the  bank ; 
and  therefore  meekness  says,  "  By  all  means  keep 
silence,  and  leave  it  off  before  it  be  meddled  with.'' 
When  a  fire  is  begun,  it  is  good,  if  possible,  to 
smother  it,  and  so  prevent  its  spreading.  Let  us 
deal  wisely,  and  stifle  it  in  the  birth,  lest  afterward  it 
prove  too  strong  to  be  dealt  with.     Anger  in  the 

ITS    NATURE.  2S^ 

heart  is  like  the  books  stowed  in  cellars  in  the  con- 
flagration of  London,  which,  though  they  were  ex- 
tremely heated,  never  took  fire  till  they  took  air 
many  days  after,  which  giving  vent  to  the  heat  put 
them  into  a  flame.  When  the  spirits  are  in  a  fer- 
ment, though  it  may  be  some  present  pain  to  check 
and  suppress  them,  and  the  headstrong  passions 
hardly  admit  the  bridle,  yet  afterward  it  will  be  no 
grief  of  heart  to  us. 

Those  who  find  themselves  wronged  and  aggriev- 
ed, think  they  may  have  leave  to  speak ;  but  it  is  bet- 
ter to  be  silent  than  to  speak  amiss,  and  make  work 
for  iiepentance.  At  such  a  time  he  that  holds  his 
tongue,  holds  his  peace;  and  if  we  soberly  reflect, 
we  shall  find  we  have  been  often  the  worse  for  our 
speaking,  hut  seldom  the  worse  for  our  silence.  This 
must  be  especially  remembered  and  observed  by  as 
many  as  are  under  the  yoke,  who  will  certainly 
have  most  comfort  in  meekness,  and  patience,  and 
silent  submission,  not  only  to  the  good  and  gentle, 
but  also  to  the  froward.  It  is  good  in  such  cases 
to  remember  our  place,  and  (if  the  spirit  of  a  ruler 
rise  up  against  us)  not  to  leave  it,  that  is,  not  to  do 
any  thing  unbecoming,  for  yielding  pacifieth  great 
offences.  Eccl.  10:  4.  We  have  a  common  proverb 
that  teaches  us  this,  "  When  thou  art  the  hammer, 
knock  thy  fill ;  but  when  thou  art  the  anvil,  lie  thou 
still :"  for  it  is  the  posture  thou  art  cut  out  fori  and 
which  best  becomes  thee. 

26  H£NRV    OK    MEEKNE86. 

If  Others  be  angry  at  us  without  cause,  and  wc 
have  ever  so  much  reason  on  our  side,  yet  often- 
times it  is  best  to  adjourn  our  own  vindication, 
though  we  think  it  necessary,  till  the  passion  be 
over ;  for  there  is  nothing  said  or  done  in  passion, 
but  it  may  be  better  said  and  better  done  afterwards. 
When  we  are  calm,  we  shall  be  likely  to  say  it  and 
do  it  in  a  better  manner;  and  when  our  brother  is 
calm,  we  shall  be  likely  to  say  it  and  do  it  to  a  bet- 
ter purpose.  A  needful  truth  spoken  in  anger  may 
do  more  hurt  than  good,  and  offend  rather  than  sa- 
tisfy. The  prophet  himself  forbore  even  a  message 
from  God,  when  he  saw  Amaziah  in  a  passion. 
Sometimes  it  may  be  advisable  to  get  some  one  else  to 
say  that  for  us  which  is  to  be  said,  rather  than  say 
it  ourselves.  However,  we  have  a  righteous  God, 
to  whom,  if  in  a  meek  silence  we  suffer  ourselves  to 
be  injured,  we  may  commit  our  cause,  and  having  his 
promise  that  he  will  *'  bring  forth  our  righteousness 
as  the  light,  and  our  judgment  as  the  noon-day,"  we 
had  better  leave  it  in  his  hands  than  undertake  to 
manage  it  ourselves,  lest  that  which  we  call  clearing 
ourselves,  God  should  call  quarreling  with  our  breth- 
ren. David  was  greatly  provoked  by  those  that  sought 
his  hurt,  and  spake  mischievous  things  against  him ; 
and  yet,  says  he,  "  I  as  a  deaf  man,  heard  not ;  I  was 
as  a  dumb  man  that  openeth  not  his  mouth."  And 
why  so  1  It  was  not  because  he  had  nothing  to  say,  or 
knew  not  how  to  say  it;  but  because  **in  thee,  O 

ITS    NATURE.  27 

Lord,  do  I  hope :  thou  wilt  hear,  O  Lord  my  God." 
If  God  hear,  what  need  have  I  to  hear  ?  His  con- 
cerning himself  in  the  matter  supersedes  ours,  and 
he  is  not  only  engaged,  in  justice,  to  own  every 
righteous  cause  that  is  injured,  but  he  is  further  en- 
gaged, in  honor,  to  appear  for  those  who,  in  obe- 
dience to  the  law  of  meekness,  commit  their  cause 
to  him.  If  there  be  any  vindication  or  avenging 
necessary,  (which  infinite  Wisdom  is  the  best  judge 
of,)  he  can  do  it  better  than  we  can ;  therefore  "  give 
place  unto  wrath,"  that  is,  to  the  judgment  of  God, 
which  is  according  to  truth  and  equity  ;  make  room 
f<5r  him  to  take  the  seat,  and  do  not  you  step  in  be- 
fore him.  It  is  fit  that  our  wrath  should  stand  by 
to  give  way  to  his,  for  the  wrath  of  man  engages 
not  the  righteousness  of  God  for  him.  Even  just 
appeals  made  to  him,  if  they  be  made  in  passion, 
are  not  admitted  into  the  court  of  heaven,  being  not 
duly  presented;  that  one  thing,  error,  is  sufficient  to 
overrule  them.  Let  not  therefore  those  that  do  well 
and  suffer  for  it,  spoil  their  own  vindication  by  mis- 
timing and  mismanaging  it ;  but  tread  in  the  steps 
of  the  Lord  Jesus,  who,  when  he  was  reviled,  re- 
viled not  again;  when  he  suffered,  he  threatened 
not,  but  was  as  a  lamb  dumb  before  the  shearers, 
and  so  committed  himself  to  Him  that  judges  right- 
eously. It  is  indeed  a  principal  part  of  self-denial 
to  be  silent  when  we  have  enough  to  say,  and  pro- 
vocation to  say  it ;  but  if  we  do  thus  control  our 

28  HENK¥    ON    MEEKNESS. 

tongues  out  of  a  pure  regard  to  peace  and  love, 
it  will  turn  to  a  good  account,  and  will  be  an  evi- 
dence for  us  that  we  are  Christ's  disciples,  having 
learned  to  deny  ourselves.  It  is  better  by  silence 
to  yield  to  our  brother,  who  is,  or  has  been,  or  may 
be  our  friend,  than  by  angry  speaking  to  yield  to 
the  devil,  who  has  been,  and  is,  and  ever  will  be  our 
sworn  enemy. 

(2.)  To  indite  a  soft  answer.  This  Solomon  com- 
mends as  a  proper  expedient  to  turn  away  wrath, 
while  grievous  words  do  but  stir  up  anger.  When 
any  speak  angrily  to  us,  we  must  pause  a  while  and 
study  an  answer,  which,  both  for  the  matter  and  man- 
ner of  it,  may  be  mild  and  gentle.  This  brings  wa- 
ter, while  peevishness  and  provocation  would  but 
bring  oil  to  the  flame.  Thus  is  death  and  life  in 
the  power  of  the  tongue  :  it  is  either  healing  or  kill- 
ing, an  antidote  or  a  poison,  according  as  it  is  used. 
When  the  waves  of  the  sea  beat  on  a  rock,  they  bat- 
ter and  make  a  noise ;  but  a  soft  sand  receives  them 
silently,  and  returns  them  without  damage.  A  soft 
tongue  is  a  wonderful  specific,  and  has  a  very  strange 
virtue  in  it.  Solomon  says,  "  it  breaks  the  bone," 
that  is,  it  qualifies  those  that  were  provoked,  and 
makes  them  pliable  ;  it  "  heaps  coals  of  fire  upon  the 
head"  of  an  enemy,  not  to  burn  him,  but  to  melt 
him.  "Hard  words,"  we  say,  "  break  no  bones ;"  but 
it  seems  soft  ones  do,  and  yet  do  no  harm,  as  they 
calm  an  angry  spirit  and  prevent  its  progress.     A 

ITS    NATURE,  29 

Stone  that  falls  on  a  wool-pack  rests  there,  and  re- 
bounds not  to  do  any  further  mischief;  such  is  a 
meek  answer  to  an  angry  question. 

The  good  effects  of  a  soft  answer,  and  the  ill  con- 
sequences of  a  peevish  one,  are  observable  in  the 
stories  of  Gideon  and  Jephthah  :  both  of  them,  in  the 
day  of  their  triumphs  over  the  enemies  of  Israel, 
were  quarreled  with  by  the  Ephraimites,  when  the 
danger  was  past  and  the  victory  won,  because  they 
had  not  been  called  upon  to  engage  in  the  battle. 
Gideon  pacified  them  with  a  soft  answer, -"What 
have  I  done  now  in  comparison  of  you  ?"  magnify- 
ing'their  achievements  and  lessening  his  own,  speak- 
ing honorably  of  them  and  meanly  of  himself:  "  Is 
not  the  gleaning  of  the  grapes  of  Ephraim  better 
than  the  vintage  of  Abiezer  ?"  In  which  reply  it  is 
hard  to  say  whether  there  was  more  of  wit  or  wis- 
dom ;  and  the  effect  was  very  good ;  the  Ephraimites 
were  pleased,  their  anger  turned  away,  a  civil  war 
prevented,  and  nobody  could  think  the  worse  of  Gi- 
deon for  his  mildness  and  self  denial.  On  the  con- 
trary, he  won  more  true  honor  by  his  victory  over 
his  own  passion,  than  he  did  by  his  victory  overall 
the  host  of  Midian ;  for  he  that  hath  rule  over  his 
own  spirit  is  better  than  the  mighty.  The  angel  of 
the  Lord  has  pronounced  him  a  "  mighty  man  of 
valor ;"  and  this  his  tame  submission  did  not  at  all 
derogate  from  that  part  of  his  character.  But  Jeph- 
thah, who  by  many  instances  appears  to  be  a  man  of 


a  rough  and  hasty  spirit,  though  enrolled  among 
the  eminent  believers,  Heb.  11  :  32,  (for  all  good 
people  are  not  alike  happy  in  their  temper,)  when 
the  Ephraimites  in  like  manner  quarrel  with  him, 
rallies  them,  upbraids  them  with  their  cowardice, 
boasts  of  his  ow^n  courage,  and  challenges  them  to 
make  good  their  cause.  Judg.  12:2.  They  retort 
:i  scurrilous  reflection  upon  Jephthah's  country,  as 
it  is  usual  w^ith  passion  to  taunt  and  jeer :  *'  Ye 
Gileadites  are  fugitives."  From  words  they  go  to 
blows,  and  so  great  a  matter  does  this  little  fire  kin- 
dle, that  there  goes  no  less  to  quench  the  flame  than 
the  blood  of  two  and  forty  thousand  Ephraimites. 
All  which  had  been  happily  prevented,  if  Jephthah 
had  had  but  half  as  much  meekness  in  his  heart  as 
he  had  reason  on  his  side. 

A  soft  answer  is  the  dictate  and  dialect  of  that 
wisdom  which  is  from  above,  which  is  peaceable, 
gentle,  and  easy  to  be  entreated:  and  to  recommend 
jt  to  us,  we  have  the  pattern  of  good  men,  as  that  of 
Jacob's  conduct  to  Esau.  Though  none  is  so  hard 
to  be  won  as  a  brother  ofl!ended,  yet,  as  he  had  pre- 
vailed with  God  by  faith  and  prayer,  so  he  prevailed 
with  his  brother  by  meekness  and  humility.  We 
have  also  the  pattern  of  angels,  who,  even  when  a 
rebuke  was  needful,  durst  not  turn  it  into  a  railing 
accusation,  durst  not  give  any  reviling  language, 
not  to  the  devil  himself,  but  referred  the  matter  to 
God — "  The  Lord  rebuke  thee ;"  as  that  passage, 

ITS    NATURE.  31 

Judo,  5  : 9,  is  commonly  imderstood.  Nay,  we  have 
the  pattern  of  a  good  God,  who,  though  he  could 
plead  against  us  with  his  great  power,  yet  gives  soft 
answers :  witness  his  dealing  Avith  Cain  when  he 
was  wroth  and  his  countenance  fallen,  reasoning  the 
case  with  him,  "  Why  art  thou  wroth  ?  If  thou  doest 
well,  shalt  not  thou  be  accepted  ?"  With  Jonah  like- 
wise when  he  Avas  so  discontented,  "  Doest  thou 
well  to  be  angry  ?"  This  is  represented,  in  the  pa- 
rable of  the  prodigal  son,  by  the  conduct  of  the  fli- 
ther  towards  the  elder  brother,  who  was  so  angry 
that  he  would  not  come  in.  The  father  did  not  sa)% 
"  Let  him  stay  out  then  ;"  but  he  came  himself  and 
entreated  him,  when  he  might  have  interposed  his 
authority  and  commanded  him,  saying,  "  Son,  thou 
art  ever  with  me."  When  a  passionate  contest  is 
begun,  there  is  a  plague  broke  out:  the  meek  man, 
like  Aaron,  takes  his  censer  with  the  incense  of  a 
soft  answer,  steps  in  seasonably,  and  stays  it. 

This  soft  answer,  in  case  we  have  committed  a 
fault,  though  perhaps  not  culpable  to  the  degree  that 
we  are  charged  with,  must  be  penitent,  humble,  and 
submissive ;  and  we  must  be  ready  to  acknowledge 
our  error,  and  not  stand  in  it,  or  insist  upon  our  own 
vindication ;  but  rather  aggravate  than  excuse  it,  ra- 
ther condemn  than  justify  ourselves.  It  will  be  a 
good  evidence  of  our  repentance  towards  God,  to 
humble  ourselves  to  our  brethren  whom  we  have 
offended  ;  as  it  will  be  also  a  good  evidence  of  our 


being  forgiven  of  God,  if  we  be  ready  to  forgive 
those  that  have  offended  us :  and  such  yielding  pa- 
cifies great  offences.  Meekness  teaches  us,  as  often 
as  we  trespass  against  our  brother,  to  "turn  again 
and  say,  I  repent."  An  acknowledgment,  in  case  of 
a  willful  affront,  is  perhaps  as  necessary  to  pardon, 
OS  (we  commonly  say)  restitution  is  in  case  of  wrong. 
So  much  for  the  opening  of  the  nature  of  meekness, 
w^hich  yet  will  receive  further  light  from  consider- 
ing more  particularly  what  is  implied  in 


Quietness  is  the  evenness,  the  composure,  and  the 
rest  of  the  soul,  which  speaks  both  the  nature  and 
the  excellency  of  the  grace  of  meekness.  The  great- 
est comfort  and  happiness  of  man  is  sometimes  set 
forth  by  quietness.  That  peace  of  conscience  which 
Christ  has  left  for  a  legacy  to  his  disciples,  that  pre- 
sent sabbatism  of  the  soul,  which  is  an  earnest  of 
the  rest  that  remains  for  the  people  of  God,  is  called 
"  quietness  and  assurance  for  ever,"  and  is  promised 
as  the  efiect  of  righteousness.  So  graciously  has  God 
been  pleased  to  intwine  interests  with  us,  as  to  en- 
join the  same  thing  as  a  duty,  which  he  proposes 
and  promises  as  a  privilege.  Justly  may  we  say  that 
we  serve  a  good  Master,  whose  '*  yoke  is  easy :"  it 
is  not  only  easy,  but  sweet  and  gracious,  so  the  word 
signifies;  not  only  tolerable,  but  amiable  and  aceep- 

ITS    NATURE.  33 

table.  Wisdom's  waj's  are  not  only  pleasant,  but 
pleasantness  itself,  and  all  her  paths  are  peace.  It  is 
the  character  of  the  Lord's  people,  both  in  respect  to 
holiness  and  happiness,  that,  however  they  be  brand- 
ed as  the  troublers  of  Israel,  they  are  "the  quiet  in 
the  land,"  If  every  saint  be  made  a  spiritual  prince, 
Rev.  1  :  6,  having  a  dignity  above  others,  and  a  do- 
minion over  himself,  surely  he  is  like  Seraiah,  "a 
quiet  prince."  It  is  a  reign  with  Christ,  the  tran- 
scendent Solomon,  under  the  influence  of  whose 
golden  sceptre  there  is  "  abundance  of  peace  as  long 
as  the  moon  endures,"  yea,  and  longer,  for  "of  the 
increase  of  his  government  and  peace  there  shall  be 
no  end."  Quietness  is  recommended  to  us  in  the 
Scriptures  as  a  grace  which  we  should  be  endued 
with,  and  a  duty  which  we  should  practice.  In 
the  midst  of  all  the  affronts  and  injuries  that  are 
or  can  be  ofl?ered  us,  we  must  keep  our  spirits  sedate 
and  undisturbed,  and  evidence,  by  a  calm,  and  even, 
nnd  regular  behavior,  that  they  are  so.  This  is  quiet- 
ness. Our  Savior  has  pronounced  the  blessing  of 
adoption  upon  the  peace-makers.  Matt.  5:9;  those 
that  are  for  peace,  as  David  professes  himself  to  be, 
Psalm  120:  7,  in  opposition  to  those  that  delight  in 
war.  Now,  if  charity  be  for  peace-making,  surely 
this  "charity  begins  at  home,"  and  is  for  making 
peace  there  in  the  first  place.  Peace  in  our  own 
souls  is  some  conformity  to  the  example  of  the  God 
of  peace,  who,  though  he  does  not  always  give  peace 


on  this  earth,  yet  evermore  "makes  peace  in  his  own 
high-places."  This  some  think  is  the  primary  in- 
tention of  that  peace-making  on  which  Christ  com- 
mands the  blessing :  it  is  to  have  strong  and  hearty 
affections  to  peace,  to  be  peaceably-minded.  In  a 
word,  quietness  of  spirit  is  the  soul's  stillness  and 
silence  from  intending  provocation  to  any,  or  resent- 
ing provocation  from  any  with  whom  we  have  to  do. 

The  word  has  something  in  it  of  metaphor,  which 
admirably  illustrates  the  grace  of  meekness. 

1.  We  must  be  quiet  as  the  air  is  quiet  from 
wi7ids.  Disorderly  passions  are  like  stormy  winds 
in  the  soul,  they  toss  and  hurry  it,  and  often  strand 
or  overset  it ;  they  move  it  •'  as  the  trees  of  the  wood 
are  moved  with  the  wind ;"  it  is  the  prophet's  com- 
parison, and  is  an  apt  emblem  of  a  man  in  passion. 
Now  meekness  restrains  these  winds,  says  to  them, 
Peace,  be  still,  and  so  preserves  a  calm  in  the  soul, 
and  makes  it  conformable  to  Him  who  has  the 
winds  in  his  hands,  and  is  herein  to  be  praised  that 
even  the  stormy  winds  fulfill  his  word.  A  brisk  gale 
is  often  useful,  especially  to  the  ships  of  desire,  (as 
the  Hebrew  phrase  is,  Job,  9 :  26 ;)  so  there  should 
be  in  the  soul  such  a  warmth  and  vigor  as  will  help 
to  speed  us  to  the  desired  harbor.  It  is  not  well  to 
lie  wind-bound  in  dullness  and  indifference ;  but  tem- 
pests are  perilous,  yea,  though  the  wind  be  in  the 
right  point.  So  are  strong  passions,  even  in  good 
men ;  they  both  hinder  the  voyage  and  hazard  the 


ship.  Such  a  quickness  as  consists  with  quietness  is 
what  we  should  all  labor  after,  and  meekness  will 
contribute  very  much  toward  it ;  it  will  silence  the 
noise,  control  the  force,  moderate  the  impetus,  and 
correct  all  undue  and  disorderly  transports.  What 
manner  of  grace  is  this,  that  even  the  winds  and  the 
sea  obey  it !  If  we  will  but  use  the  authority  God 
has  given  us  over  our  own  hearts,  we  may  keep  the 
winds  of  passion  under  the  command  of  religion  and 
reason;  and  then  the  soul  is  quiet,  the  sun  shines,  all 
is  pleasant,  serene  and  smiling,  and  the  man  sleeps 
sweetly  and  safely  on  the  lee-side.  We  make  our 
voyage  among  rocks  and  quicksands,  but  if  the 
weather  be  calm,  we  can  the  better  steer  so  as  to 
avoid  them,  and  by  a  due  care  and  temper  strike  the 
mean  between  extremes ;  whereas  he  that  suffers 
these  winds  of  passion  to  get  head,  and  spreads  a 
large  sail  before  them,  while  he  shuns  one  rock, 
splits  upon  another,  and  is  in  danger  of  being  drown- 
ed in  destruction  and  perdition  by  many  foolish  and 
hurtful  lusts,  especially  those  whence  wars  and  fight- 
ings come. 

2.  We  must  be  quiet  as  the  sea  is  quiet  from 
waves.  The  wicked,  whose  sin  and  punishment  both 
lie  in  the  unruliness  of  their  own  souls,  and  the  vio- 
lence and  disorder  of  their  own  passions,  which  per- 
haps will  not  be  the  least  of  their  eternal  torments, 
are  compared  to  "  the  troubled  sea,  when  it  cannot 
rest,  whose  waters  cast  up  mire  and  dirt;"  that  is. 


they  are  uneasy  to  themselves  and  to  all  about  them, 
*'  raging  waves  of  the  sea,  foaming  out  their  ovirn 
shame;"  their  hard  speeches  which  they  speak 
against  God,  and  dignities,  and  things  which  they 
know  not,  their  great  swelling  words  and  mockings  ; 
Jude,  13  :  18 ;  these  are  the  shame  they  foam  out 
Now  meekness  is  a  grace  of  the  Spirit,  that  moves 
upon  the  face  of  the  waters,  and  quiets  them,  smooths 
the  ruffled  sea,  and  stills  the  noise  of  it ;  it  casts  forth 
none  of  the  mire  and  dirt  of  passion.  The  waves 
mount  not  up  to  heaven  in  proud  and  vain-glorious 
boastings ;  they  go  not  dovvn  to  the  depths  to  scrape 
up  vile  and  scurrilous  language;  there  is  no  reeling 
to  and  fro,  as  men  overcome  with  drink  or  with 
their  own  passion ;  there  is  none  of  that  transport 
which  brings  them  to  their  wits'  end  ;  but  "  they  are 
glad  because  they  are  quiet,  so  he  bringeth  them  to 
their  desired  haven."  This  calmness  and  evenness 
of  spirit  makes  our  passage  over  the  sea  of  this 
world  safe  and  pleasant,  quick  and  speedy  towards, 
the  desired  harbor,  and  is  amiable  and  exemplary 
in  the  eyes  of  others. 

3.  We  must  be  quiet  as  the  land  is  quiet  from 
war.  It  was  the  observable  felicity  of  Asa's  reign, 
that  "  in  his  days  the  land  was  quiet."  In  the  pre- 
ceding reigns  there  was  no  peace  to  him  that  went 
out,  or  to  him  that  came  in ;  but  now  the  rumors  and 
alarms  of  war  were  stilled,  and  the  people  delivered 
from  the  noise  of  archers  at  the  place  of  drawing 

ITS    NATURE.  37 

waters,  as  when  the  land  had  rest  in  Deborah's  time. 
Such  a  quietness  there  should  be  in  the  soul,  and 
such  a  quietness  there  will  be  where  meekness 
sways  the  sceptre.  A  soul  inflamed  with  wrath  and 
passion  upon  all  occasions,  is  like  a  kingdom  em- 
broiled in  war,  in  a  civil  war,  subject  to  continual 
frights^  and  losses,  and  perils  ;  deaths  and  terrors,  in 
their  most  horrid  shapes,  walk  triumphantly,  sleep 
is  disturbed)  families  broken,  friends  suspected,  ene- 
mies feared)  laws  silenced,  commerce  ruined,  busi- 
ness neglected,  cities  wasted ;  such  heaps  upon  heaps 
does  ungoverned  anger  lay,  when  it  is  let  loose  in 
the  souL  But  meekness  makes  these  wars  to  cease, 
breaks  the  bow,  cuts  the  spear,  sheaths  the  sword, 
and  in  the  midst  of  a  contentious  world  preserves  the 
soul  from  being  the  seat  of  war,  and  makes  peace  in 
her  borders.  The  rest  of  the  soul  is  not  disturbed, 
its  comforts  not  plundered,  its  government  not  dis- 
ordered, the  laws  of  religion  and  reason  rule,  and 
not  the  sword :  neither  its  communion  wnth  God 
nor  with  the  saints  interrupted ;  no  breaking  in  of 
temptation,  no  going  out  of  corruption,  no  complain- 
ing in  the  streets ;  no  occasion  given,  no  occasion 
taken,  to  complain.  Happy  is  the  soul  that  is  in 
such  a  case.  The  words  of  such  wise  men  are  heard 
in  quiet,  more  than  the  cry  of  him  that  ruleth  among 
fools,  and  this  "  wnsdom  is  better  than  weapons  of 
war."  This  is  the  quietness  we  should  every  one  of 
us  labor  after  ;  and  it  is  what  we  rujght  attain  to,  if 

dd  HENRY    ON    M££KN£S£. 

T/e  would  but  more  support  and  exercise  the  autho- 
rity of  our  graces,  and  guide  and  control  the  power 
of  our  passions. 

4.  We  must  be  quiet  as  the  child  is  quiet  after 
weaning.  It  is  the  Psalmist's  comparison,  "  I  have 
behaved,"  or  rather,  I  have  composed,  "and  quieted 
myself  as  a  child  that  is  weaned  of  his  mother,  my 
soul  is  even  as  a  weaned  child."  A  child,  while  it  is 
in  the  v/eaning,  perhaps  is  a  little  cross,  and  froward, 
and  troublesome  for  a  time;  but  when  it  is  perfectly 
weaned,  how  quickly  does  it  accommodate  itself  to 
its  new  way  of  feeding  !  Thus  a  quiet  soul,  if  pro- 
voked by  the  denial  or  loss  of  some  earthly  comfort 
or  delight,  quiets  itself,  and  does  not  fret  at  it,  nor 
perplex  itself  with  anxious  cares  how  to  live  without 
it,  but  composes  itself  to  make  the  best  of  that  which 
is.  And  this  holy  indifference  to  the  delights  of  sense 
is  (like  the  weaning  of  a  child)  a  good  step  taken 
towards  the  perfect  man,  "the  measure  of  the  stature 
of  the  fullness  of  Christ."  A  child  newly  weaned  is 
free  from  all  the  uneasiness  and  disquietude  of  care, 
and  fear,  and  envy,  and  anger,  and  revenge :  how 
undisturbed  are  its  sleeps,  and  even  in  its  dreams  it 
looks  pleasant  and  smiling  !  How  easy  its  days  ! 
How  quiet  its  nights  !  If  put  into  a  little  pet  now 
and  then,  how  soon  it  is  over,  the  provocation  for- 
given, the  sense  of  it  forgotten,  and  both  buried  in 
an  innocent  kiss !  Thus,  if  ever  we  would  enter  into 
the  kingdom  of  heaven,  we  must  be  converted  from 

ITS    NATURE.  39 

pride,  envy,  ambition,  and  strife  for  precedency,  and 
must  become  like  little  children.  So  our  Savior  has 
told  us,  who,  even  after  his  resurrection,  is  called 
•'  the  holy  child  Jesus."  And  even  when  we  have 
put  away  other  childish  things,  yet  still  "  in  malice  " 
we  must  be  children.  And  as  for  the  quarrels  of 
others,  a  meek  and  quiet  Christian  endeavors  to  be 
as  disinterested  and  as  little  engaged  as  a  weaned 
child  in  the  mother's  arms,  that  is  not  capable  of  such 
angry  resentments. 

This  is  that  meekness  and  quietness  of  spirit 
which  is  recommended  to  us  :  such  a  command  and 
composure  of  the  soul  that  it  be  not  unhinged  by 
any  provocation  whatsoever,  but  all  its  powers  and 
faculties  preserved  in  due  temper  for  the  just  dis- 
charge of  their  respective  offices.  In  a  word,  put  off 
all  wrath,  and  anger,  and  malice,  those  corrupted 
limbs  of  the  old  man  ;  pluck  up  and  cast  away  those 
roots  of  bitterness,  and  stand  upon  a  constant  guard 
against  all  the  exorbitances  of  your  own  passion : 
then  you  will  soon  know,  to  your  comfort,  better 
than  I  can  tell  you,  what  it  is  to  be  of  a  meek  and 
quiet  spirit. 




The  very  opening  of  this  cause,  one  would  think, 
were  enough  to  carry  it;  and  the  explaining  of  the 
nature  of  meekness  and  quietness  should  suffice  to 
recommend  it  to  us.  Such  an  amiable  sweetness 
does  there  appear  in  it,  upon  the  very  first  view, 
that  if  we  look  upon  its  beauty,  we  cannot  but  be 
enamored  with  it.  But  because  of  the  opposition  of 
our  corrupt  hearts  to  this,  as  well  as  the  other  graces 
of  the  Holy  Spirit,  I  shall  endeavor  more  particu- 
larly to  show  the  excellency  of  it,  that  we  may  be 
brought,  if  possible,  to  be  in  love  with  it,  and  to  sub- 
mit our  souls  to  its  charming  power. 

It  is  said,  Prov.  17  :  27,  that  a  man  of  understand- 
ing is  of  an  excellent  spirit.  Tremellius  translates  it, 
he  is  of  a  cool  spirit ;  put  them  together  and  they 
teach  us  that  a  cool  spirit  is  an  excellent  spirit,  and 
that  he  is  a  man  of  understanding  who  is  governed 
by  such  a  spirit.  The  Scriptures  tell  us  (what  need 
we  more?)  that  it  is  in  the  sight  of  God  of  great 
price,  and  we  may  be  sure  that  is  precious  indeed 
which  is  so  in  God's  sight :  that  is  good,  very  good, 
which  he  pronounces  so  ;  for  his  judgment  is  accord- 
ing to  truth,  and  sooner  or  later  he  will  bring  all  the 
world  to  be  of  his  mind ;  for  as  he  has  decided  it,  so 

ITS  exce: 

shall  our  doom  he,  and  he  ^i\\  be  "  justified  when 
he  speaketh,  and  clear  when  he  judgeth." 

The  excellency  of  a  meek  and  quiet  spirit  will 
appear,  if  we  consider  the  credit  ol  it,  and  the  com- 
fort of  it — the  present  profit  there  is  by  it,  and  the 
preparedness  there  is  in  it  for  future  blessings. 

I.  ConsideiJigi\r  qBj^DiTAjBJLK  a  meek  and  quiet 
spirit  is.  Credit  or  reputation  all  desire,  though  few 
consider  aright  either  what  it  is,  or  what  is  the  right 
way  of  obtaining  it ;  and  particularly  it  is  little  be- 
lieved what  a  great  deal  of  true  honor  there  is  in  the 
grace  of  meekness,  and  what  a  sure  and  ready  way 
mild  and  quiet  souls  take  to  gain  the  approval  of 
their  Master,  and  of  all  their  fellow- servants  who 
love  him,  and  are  like  him. 

1.  There  is  in  it  the  credit  of  a  victory.  What  a 
gteat  figure  do  the  names  of  high  and  mighty  con- 
querors make  in  the  records  of  fame  !  How  are  their 
conduct,  their  valor  and  success  cried  up  and  cele- 
brated !  But  if  we  will  believe  the  word  of  truth, 
and  pass  a  judgment  upon  things  according  to  it^ 
"  He  that  is  slow  to  anger,  is  better  than  the  mighty  ; 
and  he  that  ruleth  his  spirit,  than  he  that  taketh  a 
city."  Behold,  a  greater  than  Alexander  or  Cassar 
is  here ;  the  former  of  whom  (some  think)  lost  more 
true  honor  by  yielding  to  his  own  ungoverned  anger, 
than  he  got  by  all  his  conquests.  No  triumphant 
chariot  so  easy,  so  safe,  so  truly  glorious,  as  that  in 
which  the  meek  and  quiet  soul  rides  over  all  the 


provocations  of  an  injurious  world  with  a  gracious 
unconcernedness ;  no  train  so  splendid,  so  noble,  as 
that  train  of  comforts  and  graces  which  attend  this 
chariot.  The  conquest  of  an  unruly  passion  is  more 
honorable  than  that  of  an  unruly  people,  for  it  re- 
quires more  true  courage.  It  is  easier  to  kill  an 
enemy  without,  which  may  be  done  at  a  blow,  than  to 
chain  up  and  govern  an  enemy  within,  which  re- 
quires a  constant,  even,  steady  hand,  and  a  long  and 
regular  management.  It  was  more  to  the  honor  of 
David  to  yield  himself  conquered  by  Abigail's  per- 
suasions, than  to  have  made  himself  a  conqueror 
over  Nabal  and  all  his  house.  A  rational  victory 
must  needs  be  allowed  more  honorable  to  a  rational 
creature  than  a  brutal  one.  This  is  a  cheap,  safe, 
and  unbloody  conquest  that  does  nobody  any  harm, 
no  lives,  no  treasures  are  sacrificed  to  it,  the  glory 
of  these  triumphs  are  not  stained  as  others  generally 
are,  with  funerals.  Every  battle  of  the  warrior,  says 
the  prophet,  "  is  with  confused  noise,  and  garments 
roiled  in  blood  ;"  but  this  victory  shall  be  obtained 
by  the  Spirit  of  the  Lord  of  hosts.  Nay,  in  meek 
and  quiet  suffering  we  are  "  more  than  conquerors," 
through  Christ  that  loved  us ;  conquerors  with  little 
loss,  we  lose  nothing  but  the  gratifying  of  abase  lust ; 
conquerors  with  great  gain,  the  spoils  we  divide  are 
very  rich — the  favor  of  God,  the  comforts  of  the  Spirit, 
the  foretastes  of  everlasting  pleasures ;  these  are  more 
glorious  and  excellent  than  the  mountains  of  prey 


We  are  more  than  conquerors  ;  that  is,  triumphers  ; 
we  live  a  life  of  victory ;  every  day  is  a  day  of  tri- 
umph to  the  meek  and  quiet  soul. 

Meekness  is  a  victory  over  ourselves  and  the  re- 
bellious lusts  in  our  own  bosoms  ;  it  is  the  quieting 
of  intestine  broils*,  the  stilling  of  an  insurrection  at 
home,  which  is  often  harder  than  to  resist  a  foreign 
invasion.  It  is  an  effectual  victory  over  those  that 
injure  us,  and  make  themselves  enemies  to  us,  and  is 
often  a  means  of  winning  their  hearts.  The  law  of 
meekness  is,  "  If  thine  enemy  hunger,  feed  him  ;  if 
he  thirst,  not  only  give  him  drink,  (which  is  an  act 
of  charity,)  but  drink  to  him,  in  token  of  friendship, 
and  true  love,  and  reconciliation ;  and  in  so  doing 
thou  shalt  "  heap  coals  of  fire  upon  his  head,"  not  to 
donsume  him,  but  to  melt  and  soften  him,  that  he 
may  be  cast  into  a  new  mould  ;  and  thus  while  the 
angry  and  revengeful  man,  that  will  bear  down  all 
before  him  with  a  high  hand,  is  overcome  of  evil, 
the  patient  and  forgiving  overcome  evil  with  good  ; 
and  forasmuch  as  their  '*  ways  please  the  Lord,  he 
makes  even  their  enemies  to  be  at  peace  with  them." 
Nay,  meekness  is  a  victory  over  Satan,  the  greatest 
enemy  of  all ;  and  what  conquest  can  be  more  ho- 
norable than  this  ?  It  is  written  for  caution  to  us  all, 
and  it  reflects  honor  on  those  who  through  grace 
overcome,  that  "  we  wrestle  not  against  flesh  and 
blood,  but  against  principalities  and  powers,  and  the 
rulers  of  the  darkness  of  this  world."    The  magni- 


fying  of  the  adversary,  magnifies  the  victory  over 
him  ;  such  as  these  are  the  meek  man's  vanquished 
enemies ;  the  spoils  of  these  are  the  trophies  of  his 
victory.  It  is  the  design  of  the  devil,  that  great  de- 
ceiver and  destroyer  of  souls,  that  is  baffled  ;  it  is  his 
attempt  that  is  defeated,  his  assault  that  is  repulsed 
by  our  meekness  and  quietness.  Our  Lord  Jesus 
was  more  admired  for  controlling  and  commanding 
the  unclean  spirits,  than  for  any  other  cures  which 
he  wrought.  Unruly  passions  are  unclean  spirits, 
legions  of  which  some  souls  are  possessed  with,  and 
desperate,  outrageous  work  they  make  ;  the  soul  be- 
comes like  that  miserable  creature,  Mark,  5  :  3,  that 
cried  and  cut  himself;  or  that,  Mark,  9  :  22,  who 
was  so  often  cast  into  the  fire,  and  into  the  waters. 
The  meek  and  quiet  soul  is,  through  grace,  a  con- 
queror over  these  enemies,  their  fiery  darts  are 
quenched  by  the  shield  of  faith,  Satan  is  in  some 
measure  trodden  under  his  feet,  and  the  victory  will 
be  complete  shortly,  when  "he  that  overcometh" 
shall  sit  down  with  Christ  upon  his  throne,  even  as 
he  overcame  and  is  set  down  with  the  Father  upon 
his  throne,  where  he  still  appears  in  the  emblem 
of  his  meekness,  "  a  lamb  as  it  had  been  slain."  And 
upon  Mount  Zion,  at  the  head  of  his  heavenly  hosts, 
he  appears  also  as  a  lamb.  Rev.  14  :  1.  Such  is  the 
honor  meekness  has  in  those  higher  regions. 

2.  There  is  in  it  the  credit  of  beauty.    The  beauty 
of  a  thing  consists  in  the  symmetry,  harmony,  and 


agreeableness  of  all  the  parts  :  now  what  is  meek- 
ness but  the  soul's  agreement  with  itself?  It  is  the 
joint  concurrence  of  all  the  affections  to  the  univer- 
sal peace  and  quiet  of  the  soul,  every  one  regularly 
acting  in  its  own  place  and  order,  and  so  contribu- 
ting to  the  common  good.  Nextjq  the  beauty  of  ho- 
liness, j^ich  is  the  soul's  agreement  with  God,  is 
the  beauty  of  meekness,  which  is  the  soul's  agree- 
m'enf  with  itself.  "  Behold  how  good  and  how  plea- 
sant a  thing  it  is  "  for  the  powers  of  the  soul  thus  to 
"  dwell  together  in  unity,"  the  reason  knowing  how 
to  rule,  and  the  affections  at  the  same  time  knov/ing 
how  to  obey.  Exorbitant  passion  is  a  discord  in  the 
soul ;  it  is  like  a  tumor  in  the  face,  which  spoils  the 
beauty  of  it :  meekness  scatters  the  humor,  binds 
down  the  swelling,  and  so  prevents  the  deformity, 
"and  preserves  the  beauty.  This  is  one  instance  of 
the  comeliness  of  grace,  *'  through  my  comeliness," 
says  God  to  Israel,  "  which  I  had  put  upon  thee." 
It  puts  a  charming  loveliness  and  amiableness.upon 
the  soul,  which  renders  it  acceptable  to  all  who  know 
what  true  worth  and  beauty  is.  He  that  in  righte- 
ousness, and  peace,  and  joy  in  the  Holy  Ghost,  that 
is,  in  Christian  meekness  and  quietness  of  spirit, 
*'  serveth  Christ,  is  acceptable  to  God  and  approved 
of  men."  And  to  whom  else  can  we  wish  to  recom- 
mend ourselves  ? 

Solomon,  a  very  competent  judge  of  beauty,  has 
determined  that  it  is  *'  a  man's  wisdom  "  that  *'  makes 


his  face  to  shine ;"  and  doubtless  the  meekness  of 
wisdom  contributes  as  much  as  any  one  branch  of 
it  to  this  lustre.  We  read  in  Scripture  of  three  whose 
faces  shone  remarkably,  and  they  were  all  eminent 
for  meekness.  The  face  of  Moses  shone,  and  be 
was  the  meekest  of  ail  the  men  on  earth.  The  face 
of  Stephen  shone,  and  he  it  was,  who,  in  the  midst 
of  a  shower  of  stones,  so  meekly  submitted,  and 
prayed  for  his  persecutors.  The  face  of  our  Lord 
Jesus  shone  in  his  transfiguration,  and  he  was  the 
great  pattern  of  meekness.  It  is  a  sweet  and  pleas- 
ing air  which  this  grace  puts  upon  the  countenance, 
while  it  keeps  the  soul  in  tune,  and  frees  it  from 
those  jarring  discords  wbich  are  the  certain  effect  of 
an  ungoverned  passion. 

3.  There  is  in  it  the  credit  of  an  ornament.  The 
Apostle  speaks  of  it  as  "  an  adorning  "  much  more 
excellent  and  valuable  than  gold,  pearls,  or  the  most 
costly  array.  It  is  an  adorning  to  the  soul,  the  prin- 
cipal, the  immortal  part  of  the  man.  That  outward 
adorning  does  but  deck  and  beautify  the  body,  which 
at  the  best  is  but  a  sister  to  the  worms,  and  will  ere 
long  be  a  feast  for  them ;  but  this  is  the  ornament  of 
the  soul,  by  which  we  are  allied  to  the  invisible 
world :  it  is  an  adorning  that  recommends  us  to 
God,  which  is  in  his  sight  "  of  great  price."  Or- 
naments go  by  estimation :  now  we  may  be  sure 
the  judgment  of  God  is  right  and  unerring.  Every 
thing  is  indeed  as  it  is  with  God :  those  are  right- 


eous  indeed,  that  are  righteous  before  God ;  and 
that  is  an  ornament  indeed  which  he  calls  and 
counts  so.  It  is  an  ornament  of  God's  own  making. 
Is  the  soul  thus  decked  ?  It  is  he  that  has  decked  it* 
By  his  Spirit  he  hath  garnished  the  heavens,  and  by 
the  same  Spirit  has  he  garnished  the  meek  and  quiet 
souL  It  is  an  ornament  of  his  accepting;  it  must 
needs  be  so  if  it  be  of  his  own  working ;  for  to  him 
who  has  this  ornament,  more  adorning  shall  be 
given.  He  has  promised  that  he  will  "  beautify  the 
meek  with  salvation;"  and  if  the  garments  of  salva- 
tion will  not  beautify,  what  will  ?  The  robes  of  glo- 
ry will  be  the  everlasting  ornaments  of  meek  and 
(juiet  spirits.  This  meekness  is  an  ornament  that, 
like  the  Israelites'  clothes  in  the  wilderness,  never 
waxes  old,  nor  will  ever  go  out  of  fashion  while 
right  reason  and  religion  have  place  in  the  world : 
all  the  wise  and  good  will  reckon  those  best 
drest  that  put  on  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  and  walk 
with  him  in  the  white  of  meekness  and  innocency. 
Solomon  in  all  his  glory  was  not  arrayed  like  one 
of  these  lilies  of  the  valleys,  though  lilies  among 

The  same  ornament  which  is  recommended  to 
wives,  is  by  the  same  apostle  recommended  to  us 
all.  **  Yea,  all  of  you  be  subject  one  to  another  :" 
that  explains  what  meekness  is ;  it  is  that  mutual 
yielding  which  we  owe  one  to  another,  for  edifica- 
tion and  in  the  fear  of  God.     This  seems  to  be  a 


hard  saying,  how  shall  we  digest  it  ?  an  impractf* 
cable  duty,  how  shall  we  conquer  it  ?  Why,  it  fol* 
lows,  "  Be  clothed  with  humility."  Which  implies, 
(1.)  i\iQ  fixedness  of  this  grace  :  we  must  gird  it  fast 
to  us,  and  not  leave  it  to  hang  loose,  so  as  to  be 
snatched  away  by  every  temptation :  watchfulness 
and  resolution  in  the  strength  of  Christ  must  tie  the 
knot  upon  our  graces,  and  make  them  as  the  girdle 
that  cleaves  to  a  man's  loins.  (2.)  The  comeliness 
and  ornament  of  it ;  put  it  on  as  a  knot  of  ribbons, 
as  an  ornament  to  the  soul :  such  is  the  meekness 
of  wisdom,  it  gives  to  the  head  an  ornament  of 
grace,  and  (which  is  more)  a  crown  of  glory.  Prov. 
1  :  9,  and  4  :  9. 

4.  There  is  in  it  the  credit  of  true  courage.  Meek- 
ness is  commonly  despised  by  the  grandees  of  the 
age  as  cowardice  and  meanness,  and  the  evidence 
of  a  little  soul,  and  is  posted  accordingly  ;  while  the 
most  furious  and  angry  revenge  is  celebrated  and 
applauded  under  the  pompous  names  of  valor,  ho- 
nor, and  greatness  of  spirit.  This  arises  from  a 
mistaken  notion  of  courage,  the  true  nature  where- 
of is  thus  stated  by  a  very  ingenious  pen,  "  It  is  a 
resolution  never  to  decline  any  evil  of  pain,  when 
the  choosing  of  it,  and  the  exposing  of  ourselves  to 
it,  is  the  only  remedy  against  a  greater  evil."  And 
therefore  he  that  accepts  a  challenge,  and  so  runs 
himself  upon  the  evil  of  sin,  which  is  the  greater 
evil,  only  for  fear  of  shame  and  reproach,  which  is 


the  less  evil,  is  the  coward  ;  while  he  that  refuses 
the  challenge,  and  so  exposes  himself  to  reproach, 
for  fear  of  sin,*  he  is  the  valiant  man.  True  courage 
is  such  a  presence  of  mind  as  enables  a  man  rather 
to  suffer  than  to  sin,  to  choose  affliction  rather  than 
iniquity,  to  pass  by  an  affront  though  he  lose  by  it, 
and  be  hissed  as  a  fool  and  a  coward,  rather  than 
engage  in  a  sinful  quarrel.  He  that  can  deny  the 
brutal  lust  of  anger  and  revenge,  rather  than  violate 
the  royal  law  of  love  and  charity,  (however  contrary 
the  sentiments  of  the  world  may  be,)  is  truly  reso- 
lute and  courageous ;  the  Lord  is  with  thee,  thou 
mighty  man  of  valor.  Fretting  and  vexing  is  the 
fruit  of  the  weakness  of  wom.en  and  children,  but 
much  below  the  strength  of  a  man,  especially  of  the 
.new  man  ihat  is  born  from  abo\^e.  When  our  Lord 
Jesus  is  described  in  his  majesty,  riding  prosperous- 
ly, the  glory  in  which  he  appears  is  "  truth,  and 
meekness,  and  righteousness."  The  courage  of  those 
who  overcoine  this  great  red  dragon  of  wrath  and 
revenge,  by  meek  and  patient  suffering,  and  by  not 
loving  "  theif lives  unto  the  death,"  will  turn  to  the 
best  and  most  honorable  account  on  the  other  side 
the  grave,  and  will  be  crowned  with  glory,  and  ho- 
nor, and  immortality;  when  those  that  caused  their 
terror  in  the  land  of  the  living  fall  ingloriously,  and 

*  Paul  showed  more  true  valor  when  he  said,  I  can  do 
nothing  against  the  irnfh,  than  Goliath  did  when  he  defied 
all  the  hobt  of  Israel. —  Ward. 


bear  their  shame  with  them  that  go  down  to  the 
pit.  Ezek.  32  :  24. 

It  has  the  credit  of  a  conformity  to  the  best  pat' 
terns.  The  resemblance  of  those  that  are  confess- 
edly excellent  and  glorious,  has  in  it  an  excellence 
and  glory.  To  be  meek  is  to  be  like  the  greatest 
saints,  the  elders  that  obtained  a  good  report,  and 
were  of  renown  in  their  generation.  It  is  to  be  like 
the  angels,  whose  meekness  in  their  converse  with, 
and  ministration  to  the  saints,  is  very  observable  in 
the  Scriptures  ;  nay,  it  is  to  be  like  the  great  God 
himself,  whose  goodness  is  his  glor}*",  who  is  "  slow 
to  anger,*'  and  in  whom  *'  fury  is  not."  We  are  then 
followers  of  God,  as  dear  children,  when  we  "  walk 
in  love,"  and  are  kind  one  to  another,  tender-heart- 
ed, forgiving  one  another.  The  more  quiet  and  se- 
date we  are,  the  more  like  we  are  to  that  God  who, 
though  he  be  nearly  concerned  in  all  the  affairs  of 
this  lower  Avorld,  is  far  from  being  moved  by  its  con- 
vulsions and  revolutions ;  but  as  he  was  from  eterni- 
ty, so  he  is,  and  will  be  to  eternity,  infinitely  happy  in 
the  enjoyment  of  himself  It  is  spoken  to  his  praise 
and  glory,  The  Lord  sits  upon  the  floods,  even  when 
the  floods  have  lifted  up  their  voices,  have  lifted  up 
their  waves.  Such  is  the  rest  of  the  eternal  mind, 
that  he  sits  as  firm  and  undisturbed  upon  the  mov- 
able flood  as  upon  the  immovable  rock,  the  same 
yesterday,  to-day,  and  for  ever ;  and  the  meek  and 
quiet    soul    that  preserves  its  peace  and  evenness 


against  all  the  ruffling  insults  of  passion  and  provo- 
cation, does  thereby  somewhat  participate  of  a  divine 
nature.    2  Pet.  1 :  4. 

Let  the  true  honor  that  attends  this  grace  of  meek- 
ness recommend  it  to  us :  it  is  one  of  those  things 
that  are  honest,  and  pure,  and  lovely,  and  of  good 
report :  a  virtue  that  has  a  praise  attending  it — a 
praise,  not  perhaps  of  men,  but  of  God.  It  is  the 
certain  v^^ay  to  get  and  keep,  if  not  a  great  name, 
yet  a  good  name ;  such  as  is  better  than  precious 
ointment.  Though  there  be  those  that  trample  upon 
the  meek  of  the  earth,  and  look  upon  them  as  Mi- 
chal  upon  David,  despising  them  in  their  hearts; 
yet  if  this  is  to  be  vile,  let  us  be  yet  more  vile  and 
base  in  our  own  sight,  and  we  shall  find  (as  David 
argues)  that  there  are  those  of  whom  we  shall  be 
"  had  in  honor ;"  for  the  word  of  Christ  shall  not 
fall  to  the  ground,  that  they  "  who  humble  them- 
selves shall  be  exahed." 

II.  Consider  how  comfortable  a  meek  and 
quiet  spirit  is.  What  is  true  comfort  and  pleasure 
but  a  quietness  in  our  own  bosom  ?  Those  are  most 
easy  to  themselves  who  are  so  to  all  about  them ; 
while  they  that  are  a  burden  and  a  terror  to  others 
will  not  be  much  otherwise  to  themselves.  He  that 
would  lead  a  quiet,  must  lead  "  a  peaceable  life." 
The  surest  way  to  find  rest  to  our  souls  is  to  "  learn 
of  Him  who  is  meek  and  lowly  in  heart."  Let  but 
our  moderation  be  known  unto  all  men,  and  "  the 


peace  of  God,  which  passeth  all  understanding,  will 
keep  our  hearts  and  minds.''  Quietness  is  the  thing 
which  even  the  busy,  noisy  part  of  the  world  pre- 
tend to  desire  and  pursue:  they  will  be  quiet,  (this 
is  their  claim,)  yea,  that  they  will,  or  they  will  know 
why :  they  will  not  endure  the  least  disturbance  of 
their  quietness.  But  verily  they  go  a  mad  way  to 
work  in  pursuit  of  quietness ;  greatly  to  disquiet 
themselves  inwardly,  and  put  their  souls  into  a  con- 
tinual tumult,  only  to  prevent  or  remedy  some  small 
outward  disquietude  from  others.  But  he  that  is 
meek  finds  a  sweeter,  safer  quietness,  and  much 
greater  comfort  than  that  which  they  in  vain  pursue. 
"  Great  peace  have  they  "  that  love  this  law  of  love, 
for  *'  nothing  shall  offend  them."  Whatever  offence 
is  intended,  it  is  not  so  interpreted,  and  by  that  means 
peace  is  preserved.  If  there  be  a  heaven  anywhere 
upon  earth,  it  is  in  the  meek  and  quiet  soul  that  acts 
and  breathes  above  that  lower  religion  which  is  in- 
fested with  storms  and  tempests,  the  harmony  of 
whose  faculties  is  like  the  famed  "music  of  the 
spheres  " — a  perpetual  melody.  •'  Mercy  and  truth 
are  met  together,  righteousness  and  peace  have  kiss- 
ed each  other." 

A  meek  and  quiet  Christian  must  needs  live  very 
comfortably,  for  he  enjoys  himself, — he  enjoys  his 
friends, — he  enjoys  his  God, — and  he  puts  it  out  of 
the  reach  of  his  enemies  to  disturb  him  in  these  en- 

ITS    EXCEL1?ENCY.  53 

I.  He  er.joys  himself.  Meekness  is  very  nearly 
allied  to  that  "patisnce"  which  our  Lord  J»^sus  pre- 
scribes to  us  a^  necessary  to  the  keeping*  possession 
0^  our  own  souis.  How  calm  are  the  thoughts,  how 
serene  are  the  rffections,  how  rational  the  pros- 
pects, and  how  even  and  composed  are  all  the  re- 
solves of  the  meek  and  quiet  soul !  How  free  from 
the  pains  and  tortures  of  an  angry  man,  who  is  dis- 
seized and  dispossessed  even  of  himself,  and  while 
he  toils  and  vexes  to  make  other  things  his  own, 
makes  his  own  sou4  not  so :  his  reason  is  in  a  mist ; 
confounded  and  bewildered,  it  cannot  argue,  infer, 
or  foresee  with  any  certainty.  His  affections  are  on 
the  full  speed,  hurried  on  with  an  impetus  which  is 
as  uneasy  as  it  is  hazardous.  Who  is  that  "  good 
man  who  is  satisfied  from  himself?"  Who  but  the 
quiet  man  that  needs  not  go  abroad  for  satisfaction, 
but  having  Christ  dwelling  in  his  heart  by  faith,  has 
in  him  that  peace  which  the  world  can  neither  give 
nor  take  away.  While  those,  that  are  fretful  and  pas- 
sionate rise  up  early,  and  sit  up  late,  and  eat  the 
bread  of  sorrow  in  pursuit  of  revengeful  projects, 
the  God  of  peace  gives  to  "  his  beloved  sleep."  The 
sleep  of  the  .neek  is  quiet,  and  sweet,  and  undisturb- 
ed ;  those  that  by  innocency  and  mildness  are  the 
sheep  of  Christ,  shall  be  made  to  "  lie  down  in 
green  pastures."  That  which  would  break  an  an- 
gry man's  heart,  will  not  break  a  meek  man's  sleep. 
It  is  promised  that  '*  the  meek  shall  eat  and  be  sat- 


.isfied."  He  has  what  sweetness  is  to  be  had  in  his 
common  comforts,  while  the  angry  man  either  cannot 
eat,  his  stomach  is  too  full  and  too  high,  (as  A  hab, 
I  Kings,  21 :  4;)  or  eats  and  is  not  satisfied,  unless 
he  can  be  revenged,  as  Haman  :  "  All  this  avails  me 
nothing,*'  (though  it  was  a  banquet  of  wine  with  the 
king  and  queen,)  as  long  as  Mordecai  is  unhanged. 
It  is  spoken  of  as  the  happiness  of  the  meek,  that 
they  "  delight  themselves  in  the  abundance  of  peace ;" 
others  may  delight  themselves  in  the  abundance  ot 
u^alth — a  poor  delight  that  is  interwoven  with  so 
much  trouble  and  disquietude ;  but  the  meek,  though 
they  have  but  a  little  wealth,  have  peace,  abundance 
of  peace,  peace  like  a  river,  and  this  such  as  they 
have  a  heart  to  enjoy.  They  have  light  within  :  as 
GEcolampadius  said,  Their  souls  are  a  Goshen  in 
the  midst  of  the  Egypt  of  this  world  ;  they  have  a 
light  in  their  dwelling,  when  clouds  and  darkness 
are  round  about  them :  this  is  the  joy  with  which  a 
stranger  doth  not  intermeddle.  We  may  certainly 
have  (and  we  should  do  well  to  consider  it)  less  in- 
ward disturbance,  and  more  true  ease  and  satisfac- 
tion in  forgiving  twenty  injuries,  than  in  avenging 
one.  No  doubt  Abigail  intended  more  than  she  ex- 
pressed, when,  to  persuade  David  to  pass  by  the  af- 
front which  Nabal  had  given  him,  she  prudently 
suggested,  that  hereafter  "  this  shall  be  no  grief  unto 
thee,  nor  offence  of  heart — not  only  so,  but  it  would 
be  very  sweet  and  easy,  and  comfortable  in  the  re- 


flection.  Such  a  rejoicing  is  it,  especially  in  a  suf- 
fering day,  to  have  the  testimony  of  conscience,  that 
in  simplicity  and  godly  sincerity,  not  with  fleshly 
wisdom,  but  by  the  grace  of  God,  particularly  the 
grace  of  meekness,  we  have  had  our  conversation  in 
the  world,  and  so  have  pleased  God,  and  done  our 
duty.  He  did  not  speak  the  sense,  no  not  of  the  so- 
ber heathen,  that  said — Revenge  is  sweeter  than  life ; 
for  it  often  proves  more  bitter  than  death. 

2.  He  enjoys  his  friends ;  and  that  is  a  thing  in 
which  lies  much  of  the  comfort  of  human  life.  Man 
was  intended  to  be  a  sociable  creature,  and  a  Chris- 
tian much  more  so.  But  the  angry  man  is  unfit  to 
be  so,  that  takes  fire  at  every  provocation  ;  fitter  to 
be  abandoned  to  the  lions'  dens,  and  the  mountains 
of  the  leopards,  than  to  go  forth  by  the  footsteps  of 
the  flock.  He  that  has  his  hand  against  every  man, 
cannot  but  have,  with  Ishmael's  character,  Ishmael's 
fate,  "every  man's  hand  against  him,"  and  so  he 
lives  in  a  state  of  war ;  but  meekness  is  the  cement 
of  society,  the  bond  of  Christian  communion ;  it 
planes  and  polishes  the  materials  of  that  beautiful 
fabric,  and  makes  them  lie  close  and  tight,  and  the 
living  stones  which  are  built  up  a  spiritual  house, 
to  be  like  the  stones  of  the  temple  that  Herod  built, 
all  as  one  stone,  whereas,  "  Hard  upon  hard  "  (as 
the  Spaniard's  proverb  is)  "  will  never  make  a  wall." 
Meekness  preserves  among  brethren  that  unity, 
which  is  like  the  ointment  upon  the  holy  head,  and 


the  dew  upon  the  holy  hill.  Psalm  133  :  1,  2.  In 
our  present  state  of  imperfection  there  can  be  no 
friendship,  correspondence,  or  conversation  main- 
tained without  mutual  allowances;  we  do  not  yet 
dwell  with  angels  or  spirits  of  just  men  made ^r^ 
feet,  but  with  men  subject  to  like  passions.  Now, 
msekness  teaches  us  to  consider  this,  and  to  allow 
accordingly ;  and  so  di-stance  and  strangeness,  feuds 
and  quarrels  are  happily  prevented,  and  the  begin- 
nings of  them  crushed  by  a  timely  care.  How  ne- 
cessary to  true  friendship  it  is  to  surrender  our  pas- 
sions, and  to  subject  them  all  to  the  laws  of  it,  was, 
perhaps,  intimated  by  Jonathan's  delivering  to  David 
his  sword,  and  his  bow,  and  his  girdle,  all  his  mili- 
Y  tary  habiliments,  when  he  entered  into  a  covenant 
K-.  of  friendship  with  him. 

^1   ^.      3.  He  enjoys  his  God;  and  that  is  most  comfort- 

/  .  ^  able  of  all.    It  is  thfi  quintessence  of  all  happiness, 

and  that  without  which  all  our  other  enjoyments  are 

insipid;  for  this,  none  are  better  qualified  than  those 

Avho  are  arrayed  with  the  ornament  of  a  m^eek  and 

^^"'^' quiet  spirit,  which  is  in  the  sight  of  God  of  great 

T  >  price.    It  was  when  the  psalmist  had  newly  con- 

H'  ^  quered  an  unruly  passion,  and  composed  himself) 

that  he  lifted  up  his  soul  to  God  in  that  pious  and 

*  pathetic  breathing,  "  Whom  have  I  in  heaven  but 

thee,  and  there  is  none  upon  earth  that  I  desire  in 

comparison  of  thee?"   We  enjoy  God  when  we  have 

the  evidences  and  the  assurances  of  his  favor,  the 


tastes  and  tokens  of  his  love ;  when  we  experience 
in  ourselves  the  communication  of  his  grace,  and  the 
continued  instances  of  his  image  stamped  upon  us ; 
and  this,  those  that  are  most  meek  and  quiet  have 
usually  in  the  greatest  degree.  In  our  wrath  and 
passion  we  give  place  to  thjB  devil,  and  so  provoke 
God  to  withdraw  from  us.  Nothing  grieves  the 
Holy  Spirit  of  God,  by  whom  we  have  fellowship 
with  the  Father,  more  than  "  bitterness,  and  wrath, 
and  anger,  and  clamor,  and  evil  speaking."  But  to 
this  man  does  the  God  of  heaven  look  with  a  pecu- 
liar regard,  even  to  him  that  is  poor,  poor  in  spirit, 
Isa.  66 :  2, — to  him  that  is  quiet,  so  the  Syriac ;  to 
him  that  is  meek,  so  the  Chaldee.  The  great  God 
overlooks  heaven  and  earth,  to  give  a  favorable  look 
to  the  meek  and  quiet  soul.  Nay,  he  not  only  looks 
at  such,  but  he  "  dwells  "  with  them  ;  noting  a  con- 
stant intercourse  and  communion  between  God 
and  humble  souls.  His  secret  is  with  them ;  he 
gives  them  more  grace ;  and  they  that  thus  dwell  in 
love,  dwell  in  God,  and  God  in  them.  The  waters 
were  dark  indeed,  but  they  were  quiet,  when  the 
Spirit  of  God  moved  upon  them,  and  out  of  them 
produced  a  beautiful  world. 

This  calm  and  sedate  frame  very  much  qualifies 
and  disposes  us  for  the  reception  and  entertainment 
of  divine  visits ;  sets  bounds  to  the  mountain  on  which 
God  is  to  descend,  Ex.  19 :  12,  that  no  interruption 
may  break  in ;  and  charges  the  daughters  of  Jerusa- 


lem,  by  the  roes  and  the  hinds  of  the  field,  (those 
sweet,  and  gentle,  and  peaceable  creatures,)  not  to 
stir  up  or  awake  our  love  till  he  please.  Cant.  2 :  7. 
Some  think  it  was  for  the  quieting  and  composing 
of  his  spirit,  which  seems  to  haiie  been  a  little  ruffled, 
that  Elisha  called  for  the  "minstrel,"  and  then 
*•  the  hand  of  the  Lord  came  upon  him."  Never  was 
God  more  intimate  with  any  mere  man  than  he  was 
with  Moses,  the  meekest  of  all  the  men  on  the  earth ; 
and  it  was  required  as  a  needful  qualification  of  the 
high  priest,  who  was  to  draw  near  to  minister,  that 
he  should  have  compassion  on  the  ignorant,  and  on 
them  that  are  out  of  the  way.  "  The  meek  will  He 
guide  in  judgment "  with  a  still  small  voice,  w^hich 
cannot  be  heard  when  the  passions  are  loud  and  tu- 
multuous. The  angry  man,  when  he  awakes,  is  still 
with  the  devil,  contriving  some  malicious  project ; 
the  meek  and  quiet  man,  when  he  awakes,  is  still 
with  God,  solacing  himself  in  his  favor.  "  Return 
unto  thy  rest,  O  my  soul,"  says  David,  when  he  had 
reckoned  himself  among  the  simple,  that  is,  the 
mild,  innocent,  and  inoffensive  people.  Return  to  thy 
Noah,  so  the  word  is,  (for  Noah  had  his  name  from 
rest,)  perhaps  alluding  to  the  rest  which  the  dove 
found  with  Noah  in  the  ark,  when  she  could  find 
none  any  where  else.  Those  that  are  harmless,  and 
simple  as  doves,  can  with  comfort  return  to  God  as 
to  their  rest.  It  is  excellently  paraphrased  by  Mr. 
Patrick,   "  God  and  thyself"  (my  soul)  "enjoy;  in 


quiet  rest,  freed  from  thy  fears."  It  is  said  that  *'  the 
Lord  lifted  up  the  meek ;"  as  far  as  their  meekness 
reigns,  they  are  lifted  up  above  the  stormy  region, 
and  fixed  in  a  sphere  perpetually  calm  and  serene. 
They  are  advanced  indeed  that  are  at  home  in  God, 
and  live  a  life  of  communion  with  him,  not  only  in 
solemn  ordinances,  but  even  in  the  common  acci- 
dents and  occurrences  of  the  world.  Every  day  is 
a  Sabbath-day,  a  day  of  holy  rest  with  the  meek  and 
quiet  soul,  as  one  of  the  days  of  heaven.  As  this 
grace  gets  ground,  the  comforts  of  the  Holy  Ghost 
grow  stronger  and  stronger,  according  to  that  pre- 
cious promise,  *' the  meek  also  shall  increase  their 
joy  in  the  Lord,  and  the  poor  among  men  shall  re- 
joice in  the  Holy  One  of  Israel." 

4.  It  is  not  in  the  power  of  his  enemies  to  disturb 
and  interrupt  him  in  these  enjoyments.  His  peace 
is  not  only  sweet,  but  safe  and  secure ;  as  far  as  he 
acts  under  the  law  of  meekness,  it  is  above  the  reach 
of  the  assaults  of  those  that  wish  ill  to  it.  He  that 
abides  quietly  under  "  the  shadow  of  the  Almighty," 
shall  surely  be  delivered  "  from  the  snare  of  the  fowl- 
er." The  greatest  provocations  that  men  can  give 
would  not  hurt  us,  if  we  did  not,  by  our  inordinate 
and  foolish  concern,  come  too  near  them.  We  may 
therefore  thank  ourselves  if  we  be  damaged.  He 
that  has  learned  with  meekness  and  quietness  to  for- 
give injuries  and  pass  them  by,  has  found  the  best 
and  surest  way  of  baffling  and  defeating  them ;  nay, 

60  HJENRV    ON    ME£KMESS. 

it  is  a  kind  of  innocent  revenge.  It  was  an  evidence 
that  Saul  was  actuated  by  another  spirit,  in  that, 
when  the  children  of  Belial  despised  him,  and 
brought  him  no  presents,  (hoping  by  that  contempt 
to  give  a  shock  to  his  infant  government,)  he  *'  held 
his  peace,"  and  so  neither  his  soul  nor  his  crown  re- 
ceived any  disturbance.  Shimei,  when  he  cursed 
David,  intended  thereby  to  pour  vinegar  into  his 
wounds,  and  to  add  affliction  to  the  afflicted  ;  but 
David,  by  his  meekness,  preserved  his  peace,  and 
Shimei's  design  was  frustrated.  **  So  let  him  curse ;" 
alas,  poor  creature !  he  hurts  himself  more  than 
David,  who,  while  he  keeps  his  heart  from  being 
tinder  to  those  sparks,  is  no  more  prejudiced  by  them 
than  the  moon  is  by  the  foolish  cur  that  barks  at  it. 
The  meek  man's  prayer  is  that  of  David,  Ps.  61  :  2, 
*'  Lead  me  to  the  rock  that  is  higher  than  I ;"  and 
there  I  can  (as  Mr.  Norris  expresses  it) 

-Smile  to  see 

The  shafts  of  fortune  all  <irop  short  of  me. 

The  meek  man  is  like  a  ship  that  rides  at  anchor 
— is  moved,  but  not  removed  ;  the  storm  moves  it, 
(the  meek  man  is  not  a  stock  or  stone  under  provo- 
cation,) but  does  not  remove  it  from  its  port.  It  is 
a  grace  that,  in  reference  to  the  temptations  of  af- 
front and  injury,  (as  faith  in  reference  to  temptation 
in  general,)  quenches  the  fiery  darts  of  the  wicked: 


it  is  armor  of  proof  against  the  spiteful  and  enven- 
omed arrows  of  provocation,  and  is  an  impregnable 
v^all  to  secure  the  peace  of  the  soul,  where  no  thief 
can  break  through  to  steal ;  while  the  angry  man 
lays  all  his  comforts  at  the  mercy  of  every  wasp 
that  will  strike  at  him. 

So  that,  upon  the  whole,  it  appears  that  the  orna- 
ment of  a  meek  and  quiet  spirit  is  as  easy  as  it  is 

III.  Consider  how  profitable  a  meek  and  quiet 
spirit  is.  All  are  intent  on  gain.  It  is  for  this  that 
they  break  their  sleep  and  spend  their  spirits.  Now, 
it  will  be  hard  to  convince  such,  that  really  there  is 
more  to  be  obtained  by  meekness  and  quietness  of 
spirit,  than  by  all  this  tumult  and  confusion.  They 
readily  believe  that  "  in  all  labor  there  is  profit :" 
but  let  God  himself  tell  them,  •*  In  returning  and 
rest  shall  ye  be  saved,  in  quietness  and  in  confidence 
shall  be  your  strength  ;"  they  Avill  not  take  his  word 
for  it,  but  they  say,  *'  No,  for  we  will  flee  upon 
horses,  and  we  will  ride  upon  the  swift."  He  that 
came  from  heaven  to  bless  us,  has  entailed  a  special 
blessing  upon  the  grace  of  meekness :  "  Blessed  are 
the  meek;"  and  his  saying  they  are  blessed  makes 
them  so ;  for  those  whom  he  blesses,  are  blessed  in- 
deed :  blessed,  and  they  shall  be  blessed.  Meekness 
is  gainful  and  profitable,  as  it  is, 

1.  The  condition  of  the  promise :  the  meek  *'  shall 
inherit  the  earth :"  it  is  quoted  from  Ps.  37 :  11,  and 


is  almost  the  only  express  promise  of  temporal  good 
things  in  all  the  New  Testament.  Not  that  the 
meek  shall  be  put  off  with  the  earth  only,  then  they 
would  not  be  truly  blessed  ;  but  they  shall  have  that 
as  an  earnest  of  something  more.  Some  read  it. 
They  shall  inherit  the  land,  that  is,  the  land  of  Ca- 
naan, which  was  not  only  a  type  and  figure,  but  to 
them  that  believed,  a  token  and  pledge  of  the  hea- 
venly inheritance.  So  that  "  a  double  Canaan  "  (as 
Dr.  Hammond  observes)  "is  thought  little  enough 
for  the  meek  man  ;  the  same  felicity  in  a  manner  at- 
tending him  which  we  believe  of  Adam,  if  he  had 
not  fallen — a  life  in  paradise,  and  thence  a  trans- 
plantation  to  heaven."  Meekness  is  a  branch  of  god- 
liness, which  has,  more  than  other  branches  of  it, 
*' the  promise  of  the  life  that  now  is."  They  shall 
inherit  the  earth  ;  the  sweetest  and  surest  tenure  is 
that  by  inheritance,  which  is  founded  in  sonship : 
that  which  comes  by  descent  to  the  heir,  the  law  at- 
tributes to  the  act  of  God,  who  has  a  special  hand 
in  providing  for  the  meek.  They  are  his  children, 
and  if  children,  then  heirs.  It  is  not  always  the 
largest  proportion  of  this  world's  goods  that  falls  to 
the  meek  man's  share ;  but  whether  he  has  more  or 
less,  he  has  it  by  the  best  title,  not  by  a  common,  but 
a  covenant- right:  he  holds  in  Capite* — in  Christ, 
our  head,  an  honorable  tenure. 

♦  They  inhabit  the  earth  which  they  know  to  be  theirs  by 
the  divine  allotment,  and  they  are  safe  beneath  the  divine 


If  he  has  but  a  little,  he  has  it  ff  om  God's  love 
and  with  his  blessing,  and  behold  all  things  are  clean 
and  comfortable  to  him.  The  wise  man  has  deter- 
mined it,  *•  Better  is  a  dry  morsel  and  quietness 
therewith,  than  a  houseful  of  sacrifices  with  strife. 
Better  is  a  dinner  of  herbs  where  love  is,  than  a 
stalled  ox  and  hatred  therewith."  Be  the  fare  ever 
so  scanty,  he  that  has  rule  over  his  own  spirit  knows 
how  to  make  the  best  of  it,  and  how  to  suck  honey 
out  of  the  rock,  and  oil  out  of  the  flinty  rock.  Bless- 
ed are  the  meek,  for  they  shall  wield  the  earth  ;  so 
old  Wickliff's  translation  reads  it,  (as  I  remember  it 
is  quoted  in  the  Book  of  Martyrs,)  and  very  signifi- 
cantly. Good  management  contributes  more  to  our 
comfort  than  great  possessions.  Whatever  a  meek 
man  has  of  this  earth,  he  knows  how  to  wield  it,  to 
make  a  right  and  good  use  of  it ;  that  is  all  in  all. 
^  Q,uiet  souls  so  far  inherit  the  earth,  that  they  are 
sure  to  have  as  much  of  it  as  is  good  for  them,  as 
much  as  will  serve  to  bear  their  charges  through 
this  world  to  a  better ;  and  who  would  covet  more  ? 
The  promise  of  God  without  present  possession,  is 
better  than  possession  of  the  world  without  an  inte- 
rest in  the  promise. 

2.  Meekness  has  in  its  own  nature  a  direct  ten- 
dency to  our  present  benefit  and  advantage.    He  that 

protection ;  this  suffices  them,  till,  in  the  last  day,  they  ar- 
rive at  the  full  possession  of  their  inheritance.  The  furious, 
on  the  contrary,  by  grasping  at  all,  lose  every  thing.  Calv. 
inMatt.  5;  5. 


is  thus  wise,  is  wise  for  himself,  even  in  this  world, 
and  effectually  consults  his  own  interest. 

Meekness  has  a  good  influence  upon  our  health. 
If  envy  be  "  the  rottenness  of  the  bones,"  meekness 
is  the  preservation  of  therr..  The  excesses  and  ex- 
orbitances of  anger  stir  up  those  bad  humors  in  the 
body  which  kindle  and  increase  wasting  and  killing 
diseases;  but  meekness  governs  those  humors,  and 
so  contributes  very  much  to  the  good  temper  and 
constitution  of  the  body.  When  Ahab  was  sick  for 
Naboth's  vineyard,  meekness  would  soon  have  cured 
him.  Moses,  the  meekest  of  men,  not  only  lived  to 
be  old,  but  was  then  free  from  the  infirmities  of  age  ; 
"  his  eye  was  not  dim,  nor  his  natural  force  abated," 
which  may  be  very  much  imputed  to  his  meekness, 
as  a  means.  The  days  of  old  age  would  not  be 
such  evil  days,  if  old  people  did  not,  by  their  own 
frowardness  and  unquietness,  make  them  worse  than 
.  otherwise  they  would  be.  Ungoverned  anger  in- 
flames the  natural  heat,  and  so  begets  acute  diseas- 
es ;  dries  up  the  radical  moisture,  and  so  hastens 
chronical  decays.  The  body  is  called  the  sheath  or 
scabbard  of  the  soul.  Dan.  7:15,  marg.  How 
often  does  an  envious  fretful  soul,  like  a  sharp  knife, 
cut  its  own  sheath,  and,  as  they  say  of  the  viper's 
brood,  eat  its  own  way  out ;  all  which  meekness 
happily  prevents. 

The  quietness  of  the  spirit  will  help  to  suppress 
melancholy  ;  and  this,  as  other  of  wisdom's  precepts, 


will  be  health  to  the  body  and  marrow  to  the  bones ; 
length  of  days,  and  long  life,  and  peace  they  shall 
add  unto  thee;  but  wrath  kills  the  foolish  man. 
Job,  5  :  2. 

It  has  a  good  influence  upon  our  tvealth,  the  pre- 
servation and  increase  of  it.  As  in  kingdoms,  so  in 
families  and  neighborhoods,  war  begets  poverty. 
Many  a  one  has  brought  a  fair  estate  co  ruin  by 
giving  way  to  the  efforts  of  an  ungoverned  anger, 
that  barbarous  idol,  to  which  even  the  children's  por- 
tions and  the  family's  maintenance  are  oftentimes 
sacrificed.  Contention  will  as  soon  clothe  a  man 
with  rags  as  slothfulness ;  that,  therefore,  which 
keeps  peace,  does  not  a  little  befriend  plenty.  It 
was  Abraham's  meek  management  of  his  quarrel 
with  Lot  that  secured  both  his  own  and  his  kins- 
man's possessions,  which  otherwise  would  have 
been  an  easy  prey  to  the  Canaanite  and  the  Periz- 
zite  that  dwelt  then  in  the  land.  And  Isaac,  whom 
I  have  sometimes  thought  to  be  the  most  quiet  and 
calm  of  all  the  patriarchs,  and  that  passed  the  days 
of  his  pilgrimage  most  silently,  raised  the  greatest 
estate  of  any  of  them ;  he  "  grew  until  he  became 
very  great;"  and  his  son  Jacob  lost  nothing  in  the 
end  by  his  meek  and  quiet  carriage  toward  his 
uncle  Laban.  Revenge  is  costly  ;  Haman  bid 
largely  for  it,  no  less  than  ten  thousand  talents  of 
silver.  It  is  better  to  forgive,  and  save  the  charges. 
Mr.  Dod  used  to  say,  "  Love  is  better  than  law ;  for 


love  is  cheap,  but  law  is  chargeable."  Those  trades- 
men are  commonly  observed  to  thrive  most,  that 
make  the  least  noise,  that  "  with  quietness  work," 
and  mind  their  own  business. 

It  has  a  good  influence  upon  our  safety.  In  the 
day  of  the  Lord's  anger,  the  meek  of  the  earth  are 
most  likely  to  be  secured.  It  may  be  you  shall  be 
hid  ;  (so  runs  the  promise,  Zeph.  2:3;)  if  any  be, 
you  shall ;  you  stand  fairest  for  special  protection. 
Meekness  approaches  to  that  innocence  which  is 
commonly  an  effectual  security  against  wrongs  and 
injuries.  However  some  base  and  servile  spirits 
may  insult  over  the  tame  and  humble ;  yet,  with  all 
persons  of  honor,  it  is  confessedly  a  piece  of  coward- 
ice to  attack  an  unarmed,  unresisting  man,  that  re- 
sents not  provocation.-  '*  And  who  is  he  that  will 
harm  you  if  you  be  followers  of  that  which  is  good  ?" 
Who  draws  his  sword  or  cocks  his  pistol  at  the 
harmless  silent  lamb,  while  every  one  is  ready  to  do 
it  at  the  furious  barking  dog?  Thus  does  the  meek 
man  escape  many  of  those  perplexing  troubles,  those 
woes,  and  sorrows,  and  wounds  without  cause, 
which  he  that  is  passionate,  provoking,  and  revenge- 
ful pulls  upon  his  own  head.  Wise  men  turn  away 
wrath,  but  a  fool's  lips  enter  into  contention,  and  his 
mouth  calls  for  strokes.  It  is  an  honor  to  a  man  to 
cease  from  strife,  but  every  fool  will  be  meddling  to 
his  own  hurt.  An  instance  of  this  I  remember  Mr. 
Baxter  gives  in  his  book  of  "  Obedient  Patience:" 


**  Once  going  along  London  streets,  a  hectoring,  rude 
fellow  jostled  him  ;  he  went  on  his  way,  and  took  no 
notice  of  it:  but  the  same  man  affronting  the  next 
he  met  in  Jike  manner,  he  drew  his  sword  and  de- 
manded satisfaction,  and  mischief  was  done."  He 
that  would  sleep,  both  in  a  whole  skin  and  in  a 
whole  conscience,  must  learn  rather  to  forgive  inju- 
ries than  to  revenge  them.  The  two  goats  that  met 
upon  the  narrow  bridge  (as  it  is  in  Luther's  fable) 
were  both  in  danger,  should  they  quarrel ;  but  were 
both  preserved  by  the  condescension  of  one  that  lay 
down  and  let  the  other  go  over  him.  It  is  the  evil 
of  passion,  that  it  turns  our  friends  into  enemies  ;  but 
it  is  the  excellency  of  meekness,  that  it  turns  our 
enemies  into  friends,  which  is  an  effectual  way  of 
conquering  them.  Saul,  as  inveterate  an  enemy  as 
could  be,  was  more  than  once  meUed  by  David's 
mildness  and  meekness.  "  Is  this  thy  voice,  my  son 
David?"  said  he :  "I  have  sinned  ;  return,  my  son 
David."  And  after  that  Saul  persecuted  him  no 
more.  1  Sam.  27 :  4.  The  change  that  Jacob's 
meekness  made  in  Esau  is  no  less  observable.  In 
the  ordinary  dispensations  of  Providence  some  tell 
us  that  they  have  found  it  remarkably  true  in  times 
of  public  trouble  and  calamity,  that  it  has  common- 
ly fared  best  with  the  meek  and  quiet ;  their  lot  has 
been  safe  and  easy,  especially  if  compared  with  the 
contrary  fate  of  the  turbulent  and  seditious.  Whoso 
is  wise  and  observes  these  things  will  understand 


the  loving-kindness  cf  the  Lord  to  the  quiet  in  the 
land,  against  whom  we  read  indeed  of  plots  laid  and 
deceitful  matters  devised;  Ps.  35  :  20 ;  37  :  12,  14; 
but  those  by  a  kind  and  overruling  Providence  are 
ordinarily  baffled  and  made  successless.  Thus  does 
this  grace  of  meekness  carry  its  own  recompense 
alon^  with  it,  and  in  keeping  this  commandment,  as 
well  as  after  keeping  it,  "  there  is  a  great  reward." 

IV.  Consider  what  a  preparative  it  is  for 
something  further.  It  is  a  very  desirable  thing  to 
stand  complete  in  all  the  will  of  God,  Gol.  4 :  12,  to 
be  fitted  and  furnished  for  every  good  work,  to  be 
made  ready,  a  people  prepared  for  the  Lord.  A  liv- 
ing principle  of  grace  is  the  best  preparation  for  the 
whole  will  of  God.  Grace  is  establishing  to  the 
heart,  it  is  the  root  of  the  matter,  and  a  good  founda- 
tion for  the  time  to  come.  This  grace  of  meekness 
is  particularly  a  good  preparation  for  what  lies  be- 
fore us  in  this  world. 

L  It  makes  us  fit  for  any  duty.  It  puts  the  soul 
in  frame,  and  keeps  it  so  for  all  religious  exercises. 
There  was  no  noise  of  axes  and  hammers  in  the 
building  of  the  temple :  tkose  are  most  fit  for  temple 
service  that  are  most  quiet  and  composed.  The 
work  of  God  is  best  done  when  it  is  done  without 

Meekness  qualifief;  and  disposes  us  to  hear  an(? 
receive  the  word :  when  malice  and  envy  are  Jaid 
aside,  and  we  are  like  new-born  babes  for  innocence 


and  inoffensiveness,  then  we  are  most  fit  to  receive 
the  sincere  milk  of  the  word,  and  are  most  likely  to 
grow  thereby.  Meekness  prepares  the  soil  of  the 
heart  for  the  seed  of  the  word,  as  the  husbandman 
opens  and  breaks  the  clods  of  his  ground,  and  makes 
plain  the  face  thereof,  and  then  casts  in  "  the  princi- 
pal wheat  and  the  appointed  barley."  Christ's  mi- 
nisters are  fishers  of  men,  but  we  seldom  fish  suc- 
cessfully in  these  troubled  waters.  The  voice  that 
Eliphaz  heard,  was  ushered  in  with  a  profound  si- 
lence, and  in  slumberings  upon  the  bed — a  quiet 
place  and  posture.  God  "  opens  the  ears  of  men,  and 
sealeth  their  instruction." 

Prayer  is  another  duty  which  meekness  disposes 
us  rightly  and  acceptably  to  perform.  We  do  not 
lift  up  pure  hands  in  prayer,  if  they  be  not  *'  without 
wrath."  Prayers  made  in  wrath  are  written  in  gall, 
and  can  never  be  pleasing  to,  or  prevailing  with  the 
God  of  love  and  peace.  Our  rule  is,  "  First  go  and 
be  reconciled  to  thy  brother,  and  then  come  and  ofl^er 
thy  gift."  And  if  w^e  do  not  take  this  method,  though 
we  seek  God  in  a  due  ordinance,  we  do  not  seek 
him  in  the  due  order. 

The  Lord's  day  is  a  day  of  rest,  and  none  are  fit 
for  it  but  those  who  are  in  a  quiet  frame,  whose  souls 
have  entered  into  that  present  sabbatism  which  the 
Gospel  has  provided  for  the  people  of  God.  The 
Lord's  Supper  is  the  Gospel-feast  of  unleavened 
bread,  which  must  be  kept,  not  with  the  old  leaven 

70  HENRY    ON    MBEKNEgS. 

of  wrath,  and  malice,  and  wickedness,  but  with  the 
unleavened  bread  of  sincerity  and  truth.* 

God  made  a  gracious  visit  to  Abraham,  and  after 
that  the  strife  betwixt  him  and  Lot  was  over,  in 
which  he  had  discovered  so  much  mildness  and  hu- 
mility. The  more  carefully  we  preserve  the  com- 
munion of  saints,  the  fitter  we  are  for  communion 
with  God.  It  is  observable,  that  the  sacrifices  which 
God  appointed  under  the  law,  were  not  ravenous 
beasts  and  birds  of  prey,  but  calves,  and  kids,  and 
lambs,  and  turtle-doves,  and  young  pigeons,  all  of 
them  emblems  of  meekness,  and  gentleness,  and  in- 
offensiveness ;  for  with  such  sacrifices  God  is  well 
pleased.  This  quietness  of  spirit  contributes  very 
much  to  the  constant  steadiness  and  regularity  of  a 
religious  conversation.  Hot  and  eager  spirits,  that 
are  ready  to  take  fire  at  every  thing,  are  usually 
very  inconstant  in  their  profession,  and  of  great  in- 
consistency with  themselves  ;  like  a  man  in  an  ague- 
fit,  sometimes  burning  with  heat,  and  sometimes 
shivering  for  cold  ;  or  like  those  that  gallop  in  the 
beginning  of  their  journey,  and  tire  before  the  end 
of  it;  whereas  the  meek  and  quiet  Christian  is  still 
the  same ;  and,  by  keeping  to  a  constant  rate,  makes 

*  How  can  we  attain  the  peace  of  God  without  peace  1 
How  can  we  attain  the  remission  of  our  sins  without  remit- 
ting the  sins  of  others  1  How  can  he  that  is  angry  with  his 
brother,  pacify  his  Father,  who,  from  the  first,  forbids  us  to 
be  angry  1     Terltd.  de  Orat.  c.  10. 


progress.  If  you  would  have  one  foot  of  the  com- 
pass go  even  round  the  circumference,  you  must  be 
sure  to  keep  the  other  fixed  and  quiet  in  the  centre, 
for  your  strength  is  to  sit  still. 

2.  It  makes  us  fit  for  any  relation  into  which  God 
in  his  providence  may  call  us.  Those  who  are  quiet 
themselves,  cannot  but  be  easy  to  all  that  are  about 
them ;  and  the  nearer  any  are  to  us  in  relation  and 
converse,  the  more  desirable  it  is  that  we  should  be 
easy  to  them.  Relations  are  various,  as  superiors, 
inferiors,  and  equals ;  he  that  is  of  a  meek  and  quiet 
spirit  is  fitted  for  any  of  them.  Moses  was  forty  years 
a  courtier  in  Egypt,  forty  years  a  servant  in  Midian, 
and  forty  years  a  king  in  Jeshurun;  and  his  meek- 
ness qualified  him  for  each  of  these  posts,  and  still 
he  held  fast  his  integrity.  There  are  various  duties 
requisite,  according  as  the  relation  is,  and  various 
graces  to  be  exercised ;  but  this  of  meekness  is  the 
golden  thread  that  must  run  through  all.  If  man  be 
a  sociable  creature,  the  more  he  has  of  humanity 
the  more  fit  he  is  for  society.  Meekness  would  great- 
ly help  to  preserve  the  wisdom  and  due  authority  of 
superiors,  the  obedience  and  due  subjection  of  infe- 
riors, and  the  love  and  mutual  kindness  of  equals.  A 
calm  and  quiet  spirit  receives  the  comfort  of  the  re- 
lation most  thankfully,  studies  the  duty  of  the  rela- 
tion most  carefully,  and  bears  the  inconvenience  of 
the  relation  (for  there  is  no  unmixed  comfort  under 
the  sun)  most  cheerfully  and  easily.     I  have  heard 


of  a  married  couple,  who,  though  they  were  both 
naturally  of  a  hasty  temper,  yet  lived  very  comfort- 
ably in  that  i^elation,  by  observing  an  agreement 
made  between  themselves,  *'  Never  both  to  be  angry 
together :"  an  excellent  law  of  meekness,  which,  if 
faithfully  obeyed,  would  prevent  many  of  those 
breaches  among  relations  which  occas/on  so  much 
guilt  and  grief,  and  are  seldom  healed  without  a 
scar.  It  wr;.s  part  of  the  good  advice  given  by  a  pious 
and  ingenious  father  to  his  children  newly  entered 
into  the  conjugal  relation: 

Doth  one  speak  lare  1  t'other  with  water  come, 
Is  one  provok'd  1  be  t'other  soft  or  dumb. 

And  thus  one  wise,  both  ha;^  py.  But  where  wrath 
and  anger  are  indulged,  all  relations  are  embittered, 
those  that  should  be  helps  become  as  thorns  in  our 
eyes  and  goads  in  our  sides.  Two  indeed  are  bet- 
ter than  one,  and  yet  it  is  better  to  dwell  alone  in 
the  wilderness,  than  with  a  contentious  and  angry 
relation,  who  is  like  "  a  continual  dropping  in  a 
very  rainy  day." 

3.  It  makes  us  fit  for  any  condition,  according  as 
the  vwse  God  shall  please  to  dispose  of  us.  Those 
who,  through  grace,  are  enabled  to  compose  and 
quiet  themselves,  are  fit  to  live  in  this  world,  where 
we  meet  with  so  much  every  day  to  discompose  and 
disquiet  us.  In  general,  whether  the  outward  con- 
dition be  prosperous  or  adverse,  whether  the  world 


smile  or  frown  upon  us,  a  meek  and  quiet  spirit  is 
neither  lifted  up  with  the  one  nor  cast  down  with 
the  other,  but  is  still  in  the  same  poise :  in  prosperi- 
ty humble  and  condescending,  the  estate  rising,  but 
the  mind  not  rising  with  it ;  in  adversity  encouraged 
and  cheered — cast  dovvH,  but  not  in  despair.  St.  Paul, 
who  had  learned  in  every  estate  "  to  be  content,  knew 
how  to  be  abased,  and  knew  how  to  abound ;  every 
where,  and  in  all  things,  he  was  instructed  both  to 
be  full  and  to  be  hungry,  both  to  abound  and  to  suf- 
fer need."  Changes  without,  made  none  within.  It  is 
a  temper  Avhich,  as  far  as  it  has  the  ascendant  in  the 
soul,  makes  every  burden  light,  by  bringing  the 
mind  to  the  condition,  when  the  condition  is  not  in 
every  thing  brought  to  the  mind.  Prosperity  and 
adversity  have  each  of  them  their  particular  tempta- 
tion to  peevishness  and  frowardness ;  the  former  by 
making  men  imperious,  the  latter  by  making  them 
impatient.  Against  the  assaults  of  each  of  these 
temptations  the  grace  of  meekness  will  stand  upon 
the  guard.  Being  to  pass  through  this  world  "  by 
honor  and  dishonor,  by  evil  report  and  good  report," 
that  is,  through  a  great  variety  of  conditions  and  of 
treatment,  we  have  need  of  that  long-suffering  and 
kindness,  and  love  unfeigned,  which  will  be  "  tho 
armor  of  righteousness  on  the  right  hand  and  on  the 
left."  Meekness  and  quietness  will  fortify  the  soul  on 
each  hand,  and  suit  it  to  the  several  entertainments 
which  the  world  gives  us ;  like  a  skillful  pilot  that, 


from  which  point  of  the  compass  soever  the  wind 
blows,  will  shift  his  sails  accordingly;  and  knows 
either  how  to  get  forward,  and  weather  his  point 
with  it,  or  to  lie  by  without  damage.  It  is  the  conti- 
nual happiness  of  a  quiet  temper  to  make  the  best 
of  that  which  is.* 

4.  It  makes  us  fit  for  a  day  o(  per  stent  ion.  If 
tribulation  and  affliction  arise  because  of  the  word, 
(which  is  no  foreign  supposition,)  the  meek  and 
quiet  spirit  is  armed  for  it,  so  as  to  preserve  its  peace 
and  purity  at  such  a  time,  which  are  our  two  great 
concerns,  that  we  may  neither  torment  ourselves 
with  a  base  fear,  nor  pollute  ourselves  with  a  base 
compliance.  We  are  accustomed  to  say,  we  "will 
give  any  thing  for  a  quiet  life ;"  I  say,  any  thing  for 
a  quiet  conscience,  which  will  be  best  secured  under 
the  shield  of  a  meek  and  quiet  spirit,  which  doth  not 
*' render  railing  for  railing,"  nor  aggravate  the 
threatened  trouble,  nor  represent  it  to  itself  in  its 
most  formidable  colors,  but  has  learned  to  put  a  but 
\ipon  the  power  of  the  most  enraged  enemies ;  they 
can  but  kill  the  body ;  and  to  witness  the  most  righte- 
ous testimony  with  nieekness  and  fear,  like  our 
Master,  who,  "  when  he  sufiered,  threatened  not,  but 
committed  himself  to  Him  that  judgeth  righteously." 
Suffering  saints  (as  the  suffering  Jesus)  are  com- 

♦  Seek  not  to  adjust  events  to  your  will  so  much  as  to  ad- 
just your  will  to  events ;  thus  you  will  act  a  becoming  part. 
Epkt.  c.  13. 


pared  to  sheep,  dumb  before  the  shearer,  nay,  dumb 
before  the  butcher.  The  meek  and  quiet  Christian, 
if 'duly  called  to  it,  can  tamely  part,  not  only  with 
the  wool,  but  with  the  blood;  not  only  with  the 
estate,  but  with  the  life,  and  even  then  rejoice  with 
joy  unspeakable  and  full  of  glory.  Angry,  froward 
people,  in  a  day  of  rebuke,  are  apt  to  pull  crosses 
upon  themselves  by  needless  provocations;  or  to 
murmur,  and  complain,  and  fly  in  the  face  of  instru- 
ments, and  give  unbecoming  language,  contrary  to 
the  laws  of  our  holy  religion  and  the  example  of  our 
Master,  and  so  get  more  hurt  than  good  by  their 
suffering.  Whenever  we  have  the  honor  to  be  per- 
secuted for  righteousness'  sake,  our  great  care  must 
be  to  glorify  God  and  to  adorn  our  profession,  which 
is  done  most  efliectually  by  meekness  and  mildness, 
under  the  hardest  censures  and  the  most  cruel  usage ; 
so  manifesting  that  we  are  indeed  under  the  power 
and  influence  of  that  holy  religion  for  which  we 
think  it  worth  our  while  to  suffer. 

5.  It  makes  us  fit  for  death  and  eternity.  The 
grave  is  a  quiet  place ;  "  there  the  wicked  cease  from 
troubling."  Those  that  were  most  troublesome  are 
there  bound  to  the  peace ;  and  "  their  hatred  and 
envy  "  are  there  •*  perished."  Whether  we  will  or 
no,  in  the  grave  we  shall  lie  still  and  be  quiet. 
Job,  3:13.  What  a  great  change  then  must  it  needs 
be  to  the  unquiet,  the  angry,  and  litigious  I  and  what 
a  mighty  shock  will  that  sudden,  forced  rest  give 


them,  after  such  a  violent,  rapid  motion  !  It  is  there- 
fore our  wisdom  to  compose  ourselves  for  the  grave ; 
to  prepare  ourselves  for  it,  by  adapting  and  accom- 
modating ourselves  to  that  which  is  likely  to  be  our 
long  home.  This  is  dymg  daily,  quieting  ourselves. 
for  death  will  shortly  quiet  us. 

The  meek  and  quiet  soul  is,  at  death,  let  into  that 
rest  which  it  has  been  so  much  laboring  after ;  and 
how  welcome  must  that  needs  be  !  Thoughts  of  death 
and  the  grave  are  very  agreeable  to  those  who  love 
to  be  quiet ;  for  then  and  there  "  they  shall  enter  into 
peace,"  and  "  rest  in  their  beds." 

After  death  we  expect  the  judgment,  than  which 
nothing  is  more  dreadful  to  them  that  are  "  conten- 
tious." The  coming  of  the  master  brings  terror  along 
with  it  to  those  who  "smite  their  fellow-servants;" 
but  those  that  are  meek  and  quiet  are  likely  to  have 
their  plea  ready,  their  accounts  stated,  and  when- 
ever it  comes,  it  will  be  no  surprise  to  them  :  to  those 
whose  "  moderation  is  known  to  all  men,"  it  will  be 
no  ungrateful  news  to  hear  that  "  the  Lord  is  at 
hand."  It  is  therefore  prescribed  as  that  which 
ought  to  be  our  constant  care,  that  Vv^henever  our 
Master  comes,  we  may  "be  found  of  him  in  peace," 
that  is,  in  a  peaceable  temper.  Blessed  is  that  ser- 
vant whom  his  Lord  when  he  comes  shall  iind  in 
such  a  frame.  "  A  good  man,"  says  the  l-.;te  excel- 
lent archbishop  Tillotson,  in  his  preface  to  his  book 
of  Family  Religion,  "  would  be  loth  to  be  taken  out 


of  the  world  reeking  hot  from  a  sharp  contention 
with  a  perverse  adversary ;  and  not  a  little  out  of 
countenance  to  find  himself  in  this  temper  translated 
into  the  calm  and  peaceable  regions  of  the  blessed, 
where  nothing  but  perfect  charity  and  good-will 
reigns  for  ever."  Heaven  is  a  quiet  place,  and  none 
are  fit  for  it  but  quiet  people.  The  heavenly  Canaan; 
that  land  of  peace,  would  be  no  heaven  to  those  that 
delight  in  war.  The  turbulent  and  unquiet  would  be 
out  of  their  element,  like  a  fish  upon  dry  ground,  iit 
those  calm  regions. 

They  are  the  sheep  of  Christ,  (such  as  are  pa- 
tient and  inofl^ensive,)  that  are  called  to  inherit  the 
kingdom;  without  are  dogs  that  bite  and  devour. 
Rev.  22:  15. 

They  are  the  wings  of  a  dove,  not  those  of  a  hawk' 
or  eagle,  that  David  would  fly  upon  to  his  desired 
rest.     Psalm  55 :  6. 

Now  lay  all  this  together,  and  then  consider  whe- 
ther there  be  not  a  real  excellency  in  this  meekness 
and  quietness  of  spirit,  which  highly  recommends  it 
to  all  that  love  either  God  or  themselves,  or  have 
any  sensible  regard  to  their  own  comfort,  either  in 
this  world  or  in  that  which  is  to  come* 






And  now,  have  we  not  reason  to  lament  the  want- 
ol  the  ornament  of  a  meek  and  quiet  spirit  among 
those  that  profess  religion,  and  especially  in  our  own 
bosoms  7  If  this  be  Christianity,  how  little  is  there 
of  the  thing,  even  among  those  that  make  great  pre- 
tensions to  the  name !  Surely,  (as  one  said  in  ano- 
ther case,)  either  this  is  not  Gospel,  or  these  are  not 
gospel-professors.  And  O  how  bare  and  uncomely 
does  profession  appear  for  want  of  this  adorning ! 
When  the  Israelites  had  stripped  themselves  of  their 
ornaments  to  furnish  up  a  golden  calf,  it  is  said  they 
were  "  made  naked  to  their  shame."  How  naked 
are  we  (like  Adam  when  he  had  sinned)  for  want 
of  this  ornament.  It  is  well  if  it  be  to  the  shame  of 
true  repentance. 

I  am  not  teaching  you  to  judge  and  censure  others 
m  this  patter,  there  is  too  much  of  that  to  be  found 
among  us;  we  are  quick-sighted  enough  to  spy 
faults  in  others,  the  transports  of  whose  passions  we 
should  interpret  favorably.  But  we  have  all  cause, 
more  or  less,  to  condemn  ourselves,  and  confess 
guilt  in  this  matter.  In  many  things  we  all  offend, 
and  perhaps  in  this  as  much  as  in  any,  coming  short 
of  the  law  of  meekness  and  quietness. 

WANT    OF    IT    LAMENTED.  79 

We  are  called  Christians,  and  it  is  our  privilege 
and  honor  that  we  are  so :  we  name  the  name  of  the 
meek  and  lowly  Jesus,  but  how  few  are  actuated  by 
his  spirit,  or  conform  to  his  example  !  It  is  a  shame 
that  any  occasion  should  be  given  to  charge  it  upon 
professors,  who,  in  other  things,  are  most  strict  and 
sober,  that  in  this  they  are  most  faulty ;  and  that 
many  who  pretend  to  conscience  and  devotion, 
should  indulge  themselves  in  a  peevish,  froward, 
and  morose  temper  and  conversation,  to  the  great 
reproach  of  that  worthy  name  by  which  we  are 
called.  May  we  not  say,  as  that  Mahommedan  did 
when  a  Christian  prince  had  perfidiously  broke  his 
league  wuh  him,  "  O  Jesus !  are  these  thy  Chris- 
tians !" 

It  is  the  manifest  design  of  our  holy  and  excel- 
lent religion  to  smooth,  and  soften,  and  sweeten  our 
temper ;  and  is  it  not  a  wretched  thing  that  any 
who  profess  it  should  be  soured,  and  embittered, 
and  less  conversible  and  fit  for  human  society  than 
others?  He  was  looked  upon  as  a  very  good  man 
in  his  day,  (and  not  without  cause,)  who  yet  had 
such  an  unhappy  temper,  and  was  sometimes  so 
transported  with  passion  that  his  friend  would  say 
of  him,  "  He  had  grace  enough  for  ten  men,  and  yet 
not  enough  for  himself"  The  disciples  of  Jesus 
Christ  did  not  know  "  what  manner  of  spirit  they 
were  of," — so  apt  are  we  to  deceive  ourselves,  espe- 
cially when  these  extravagances  shroud  therrjselves 


under  the  specious  and  plausible  pretence  of  zeal 
for  God  and  religion.  But  yet  the  fault  is  not  to  be 
laid  upon  the  profession,  or  the  strictness  and  sin- 
gularity of  it  in  other  things  which  are  praisewor- 
thy ;  nor  may  we  think  the  worse  of  Christianity 
for  any  such  blemish :  we  know  very  well  that 
the  wisdom  that  is  from  above  is  peaceable  and  gen- 
tle, and  easy  to  be  entreated,  and  all  that  is  sweet, 
and  amiable,  and  endearing,  though  she  is  not  here- 
in justified  of  all  who  call  themselves  her  children. 
But  the  blame  must  be  laid  upon  the  corruption  and 
folly  of  the  professors  themselves,  who  are  not  so  per- 
fectly delivered  into  the  mould  of  Christianity  as 
they  should  be;  but  neglect  their  ornament,  and  pros- 
titute their  honor,  and  suffer  the  authority  of  their 
graces  to  be  trampled  upon.  They  let  *'  fire  go  out 
of  the  rod  of  their  branches,  which  devour  their 
fruit;"  so  that  there  is  no  meekness  as  a  strong  rod, 
to  be  a  sceptre  to  rule  in  the  soul,  w*hich  is  "a  la- 
mentation, and  shall  be  for  a  lamentation." 

And  yet,  blessed  be  God,  even  in  this  corrupt  and 
degenerate  world  there  are  many  \vho  appear  in  the 
excellent  ornament  of  a  meek  and  quiet  spirit ;  and 
some,  w^hose  natural  temper  is  hasty  and  choleric, 
yet  have  been  enabled,  by  the  power  of  divine  grace, 
to  show  in  a  good  conversation  their  works  with 
meekness  and  wisdom.  It  is  not  so  impracticable 
as  some  imagine  to  subdue  these  passions,  and  to 
preserve  the  peace  of  the  soul,  even  in  a  stormy  day. 

WANT    OF    IT    LAMENTED.  81 

But  that  we  may  each  of  us  judge  ourselves,  and 
find  matter  for  repentance  herein,  I  shall  only  men- 
tion those  instances  of  irregular  deportment  towards 
our  particular  relations  which  evidence  the  want  of 
meekness  and  quietness  of  spirit. 

1.  Superiors  are  commonly  very  apt  to  chide,  and 
that  is  for  want  of  meekness.  It  is  spoken  to  the 
praise  of  Him  who  is  the  great  ruler  of  this  per- 
verse and  rebellious  'vorld,  that  he  "will  not  al- 
ways chide."  But  how  many  little  rulers  are  there 
of  families  and  petty  societies  that  herein  are  very 
unlike  him,  for  they  are  always  chiding!  Upon 
every  little  default  they  are  put  into  a  flame,  and 
transported  beyond  due  bounds :  easily  provoked, 
either  for  no  cause  at  all,  or  for  very  small  cause ; 
greatly  provoked,  and  very  outrageous  and  unrea- 
sonable when  they  are  provoked.  Their  carriage 
is  fiery  and  hasty,  their  language  is  scurrilous  and 
indecent ;  they  care  not  Avhat  ihey  say,  nor  what 
they  do,  nor  whom  they  insult;  they  are  "such 
sons  of  Belial  that  a  man  cannot  speak  to  them.'* 
One  had  as  good  meet  a  bear  robbed  of  her  whelps 
as  meet  them.  These  require  meekness.  Hus- 
bands should  not  be  bitter  against  their  Avives.  Pa- 
rents should  not  provoke  their  children.  Masters 
must  forbear  threatening.  These  are  the  rules,  but 
how  few  are  ruled  by  them !  The  undue  and  intem- 
perate passion  of  superiors  goes  under  the  excuse  ot 
necessary  strictness,  and  the  maintaining  of  autho- 

82  ,       HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

rity,  and  the  education  and  control  of  children  and 
servants.  But  surely  every  little  failure  needs  not 
be  animadverted  upon,  but  rather  should  be  passed 
by;  or  if  the  fault  must  be  reproved  and  corrected, 
luay  it  not  be  done  without  so  much  noise  and  cla- 
mor? Is  this  the  product  of  a  meek  and  quiet  spi. 
rit  ?  Is  this  the  best  badge  of  your  authority  you 
have  to  put  on  ?  And  are  these  the  ensigns  of  your 
honor  ?  Is  there  no  other  way  of  making  your  in- 
feriors know  their  place  but  by  putting  them  among 
the  dogs  of  your  flock,  and  threatening  them  as 
such?  Not  that  I  am  against  government  and  good 
order  in  families,  and  such  reproofs  as  are  necessary 
to  the  support  and  preservation  of  it,  and  those  so 
sharpened  as  some  tempers  require  and  call  for. 
But  while  you  are  governing  others,  pray  learn  to 
govern  yourselves,  and  do  not  disorder  your  own 
souls  under  pretence  of  keeping  order  in  your  fa- 
milies; for  though  you  yourselves  may  not  be  aware 
of  it,  yet  it  is  certain  that  by  those  indications  of 
vour  displeasure  which  transgress  the  laws  of 
meekness,  you  do  but  render  yourselves  contempti- 
ble and  ridiculous,  and  rather  prostitute  than  pre- 
serve your  authority.  Though  your  children  dare 
not  tell  you  so,  yet  perhaps  they  cannot  but  think 
that  you  arc  very  unfit  to  command  yourselves.* 
Time  was  w^hen  you  w^ere  yourselves  children,  and 

♦  No  one  is  fit  to  rule,  except  he  is  willing  to  be  govern- 
ed.— Sencca» 

WANT    OF    IT    LAMENTED.  83 

scholars,  and  perhaps  servants  and  apprentices  ; 
and  so,  if  you  will  but  allow  yourselves  the  liberty 
of  reflection,  you  cannot  but  know  the  heart  of  an 
inferior,  Exod.  23  :  9,  and  should  therefore  treat 
those  that  are  now  under  you  as  you  yourselves 
then  wished  to  be  treated.  A  due  expression  of 
displeasure,  so  much  as  is  necessary  to  the  amend- 
ment of  what  is  amiss,  will  very  well  consist  with 
meekness  and  quietness.  And  your  gravity  and 
awful  composedness  therein  will  contribute  very 
much  to  the  preserving  of  your  authority,  and  will 
command  respect  abundantly  more  than  your  noise 
and  chiding.  Masters  of  families  and  masters  of 
schools  too,  have  need,  in  this  matter,  to  behave 
themselves  wisely,  so  as  to  avoid  the  two  extremes, 
that  of  Eli's  foolish  indulgence  on  the  one  hand,  and 
that  of  Saul's  brutish  rage  on  the  other ;  and  for  at- 
taining this  golden  mean,  wisdom  is  profitable  to 

2.  Inferiors  are  commonly  very  apt  to  complain. 
If  every  thing  be  not  just  to  their  mind,  they  are 
fretting  and  vexing,  and  their  hearts  are  hot  within 
them :  they  are  uneasy  in  their  place  and  station, 
finding  fault  with  every  thing  that  is  said  or  done 
to  them.  Here  is  wanting  a  quiet  spirit,  which 
would  reconcile  us  to  the  post  we  are  in,  and  to  all 
the  difficulties  of  it,  and  would  make  the  best  of  the 
present  state,  though  it  be  attended  with  many  in- 
conveniences.     Those  unquiet  people,  whom  the 


apostle  Jude  in  his  epistle  compares  to  raging;' 
waves  of  the  sea,  and  Avandering  stars,  were  mur-* 
murers  and  complainers — blamers  of  their  lot — so 
the  word  signifies.  It  is  an  instance  of  unquiet- 
ness,  to  be  ever  and  anon  quarreling  with  our  allot- 
ment. Those  wives  wanted  a  meek  and  quiet  spi- 
rit, who  "  covered  the  altar  of  the  Lord  with  tears  ;" 
not  tears  of  repentance  for  sin,  but  tears  of  vexation 
at  the  disappointments  they  met  in  their  outward 
condition.  Hannah's  meekness  and  quietness  was 
in  some  degree  wanting,  when  she  fretted,  and  wept, 
and  would  not  eat ;  but  prayer  composed  her  spirit ; 
her  countenance  was  no  more  sad.  It  was  the  un- 
quietness  of  the  spirit  of  the  elder  brother  in  the  pa- 
rable, that  quarreled  so  unreasonably  with  his  fa- 
ther for  receiving  and  entertaining  the  penitent  pro- 
digal. Those  that  are  given  to  be  uneasy,  will  ne- 
ver want  something  or  other  to  complain  of  It  is 
true,  though  not  so  readily  apprehended,  that  the 
sullenness,  and  murmuring,  and  silent  frets  of  chil- 
dren and  servants,  are  as  great  a  transgression  of 
the  law  of  meekness,  as  the  more  open,  noisy,  and 
avowed  passions  of  their  parents  and  masters.  We 
find  the  king's  chamberlains  wroth  with  the  king. 
And  Cain's  quarrel  with  God  himself  for  accepting 
Abel,  was  interpreted  as  anger  by  God.  *'  Why  art 
thou  wroth,  and  why  is  thy  countenance  fallen  ?" 
The  sour  looks  of  inferiors  are  as  certain  an  indi- 
cation of  anger  resting  in  the  bosom,  as  the  disdain- 

WANT    OF    IT    LAMKXTED.  85 

ful  looks  of  superiors;  and  how  many  such  in- 
stances of  discontent  there  have  been,  especially 
under  a  continual  cross,  our  own  consciences  may 
perhaps  tell  us.  It  is  the  want  of  meekness  only 
that  makes  those  whom  Divine  Providence  has  put 
under  the  yoke,  children  of  Belial,  that  is,  impatient 
of  the  yoke. 

3.  Equals  are  commonly  very  apt  to  clash  and 
contend.  It  is  for  want  of  meekness  that  there  are 
in  the  church  so  many  pulpit  and  paper-quarrels, 
such  strifes  of  words  and  perverse  disputings ;  that 
there  are  in  the  state  such  factions  and  parties,  and 
between  them  such  animosities  and  heart-burnings ; 
that  there  are  in  neighborhoods  such  strifes  and 
brawls,  and  vexatious  law-suits,  or  such  distances, 
and  estrangements,  and  shyness  one  of  another ; 
thai  there  are  in  families  envies  and  quarrels  among 
the  children  and  servants,  crossing,  thwarting,  and 
finding  fault  one  with  another ;  and  that  brethren, 
that  dwell  together,  do  not,  as  they  should,  dwell  to- 
gether in  unity.  It  is  for  want  of  meekness  that 
we  are  so  impatient  of  contradiction  in  our  opinions, 
desires,  and  designs,  that  we  must  have  our  own 
saying,  right  or  wrong,  and  every  thing  our  own 
way ;  that  we  are  so  impatient  of  competitors,  not 
enduring  that  any  should  stand  in  our  light,  or 
share  in  that  work  of  honor  which  we  would  en- 
gross to  ourselves ;  that  we  are  so  impatient  of  con- 
tempt, so  quick  in  our  apprehension  and  resentment 



of  the  least  slight  or  affront ;  and  so  pregnant  in  our 
fancy  of  injuries,  where  really  there  are  none,  or 
none  intended.  They  are  not  only  loud  and  pro- 
iessed  contentions  that  evidence  a  want  of  meek- 
ness, but  also  those  silent  alienations  in  affection 
and  conversation  which  make  a  less  noise;  little 
piques  and  prejudices  conceived,  which  men  are 
themselves  so  ashamed  of  that  they  w^ill  not  own 
them:  these  show  the  spirit  disturbed,  and  wanting 
the  ornament  of  meekn<.ss.  In  a  vvoid,  willfully  do- 
ing any  thing  to  disquiet  others;  slandering,  back- 
biting, whispering,  tale-bearing,  or  the  like,  is  too 
plain  an  evidence  that  we  are  not  ourselves  rightly 
disposed  to  be  quiet. 

And  now,  may  we  not  all  remember  our  faults 
this  day  ?  and,  instead  of  condemning  others,  though 
ever  so  faulty,  should  we  not  each  of  us  bewail  be- 
fore the  Lord  that  we  have  been  so  little  actuated  by 
this  excellent  spirit,  and  repent  of  all  we  have  at  any 
time  said  or  done  contrary  to  the  law  of  meekness  ? 
Instead  of  going  about  to  extenuate  and  excuse  our 
&;inful  passions,  let  us  rather  aggravate  them,  and 
lay  a  load  upon  ourselves  lor  them:  "So  foolish 
h".^e  i  been  and  ignorant,  and  so  like  a  beast  before 
f  lod."  Think  how  often  we  have  appeared  before 
God  and  the  world  without  our  ornament,  without 
our  livery,  to  our  shame.  God  kept  account  of  the 
particular  instances  of  the  unquietness  of  Israel: 
**  They  have  tempted  me  (says  he)  now  these  ten 

WANT    OF    IT    LAMENTED.  87 

times.'*  Conscience  is  God's  register,  that  recor^p 
all  our  miscarriages:  even  what  we  say  and  do  in 
our  haste  is  not  so  quick  as  to  escape  its  observation. 
Let  us,  therefore,  be  often  opening  that  book  now, 
for  our  conviction  and  humiliation,  or  else  il  will  be 
opened  shortly  to  our  confusion  and  condemnation. 
But  if  we  would  judge  ourselves,  we  should  not  be 
judged  of  the  Lord.  May  we  not  all  say,  as  Jo- 
seph's brethren  did,  (and  perhaps  some  are,  as  they 
were,  in  a  special  manner  called  to  say  it  by  hum- 
bling providences,)  '' We  are  verily  guilty  concern- 
ing our  brother."  Such  a  time,  in  such  a  com- 
pany, upon  such  an  occasion,  I  wanted  meekness ; 
my  spirit  was  provoked,  and  I  spake  unadvisedly 
with  my  lips,  and  now  I  remember  it  against  my- 
self. Nay,  have  not  1  lived  a  life  of  unquietness  in 
the  family,  in  the  neighborhood,  always  in  the  fire 
of  contention,  as  in  my  element,  and  breathing 
threatenings?  And  by  so  doing  have  not  I  disho- 
nored my  God,  discredited  my  profession,  disturbed 
ray  soul,  grieved  the  blessed  Spirit,  and  been  to  many 
an  occasion  of  sin  ?  And  for  all  this  ought  not  I  to 
be  greatly  humbled  and  ashamed  ?  Before  we  can 
put  on  the  ornament  of  a  meek  nnd  quiet  spirit,  we 
must  wash  in  the  laver  of  true  repentance,  not  only 
for  our  gross  and  open  extravagances  of  passion,  but 
for  all  our  neglects  and  omissions  of  the  duties  of 






Have  we  not  reason  to  labor  and  endeavor,  since 
there  is  such  a  virtue,  and  such  a  praise  to  attain 
these  things  ?  Should  we  not  lay  out  ourselves  to 
the  utmost  for  this  ornament  of  a  me^k  and  quiet 
spirit  ?  For  your  direction  in  this  endeavor,  if  you 
be  indeed  willing  to  be  directed,  I  shall  briefly  lay 
before  you  some  Scrijjture  prr.cepts  concerning 
meekness  :  some  patterns  of  it ;  some  particular  in- 
stances  in  which  we  have  special  need  of  it ;  some 
good  principles  that  we  should  abide  by ;  and  some 
good  practices  that  we  should  abound  in,  in  order 
to  our  growth  in  this  grace.  In  opening  thesu 
things,  we  will  endeavor  to  keep  close  to  the  law, 
and  to  the  testimony. 

If  we  lay  the  word  of  God  before  us  for  our 
rule,  and  wall  be  ruled  by  it,  Ave  shall  find  tho 
command  of  God  making  meekness  and  quietness 
as  much  our  duty  as  they  are  our  ornament.  W(j 
are  there  told,  as  the  will  of  God,  that  we  must  seek 

1.  This  command  we  have  Zeph.  2:3;  and  it  ia 
especially  directed  to  the  meek  :  "  Seek  ye  the  Lord, 
all  ye  meek  of  the  earth : — seek  meekness."  Though 


they  were  meek,  and  were  pronounced  so  by  Him  that 
searches  the  heart,  yet  they  must  seek  meekness; 
which  teaches  us  that  those  who  have  much  of  this 
grace,  have  still  need  of  more,  and  must  desire  and  en- 
deavor  after  more.  He  that  sits  down  content  with 
the  grace  he  has,  and  is  not  pressing  forward  towards 
perfection,  and  striving  to  grow  in  grace,  to  get  the 
habit  of  it  more  strengthened  and  confirmed,  and 
the  operation  of  it  more  quickened  and  invigorated, 
it  is  to  be  feared  has  no  true  grace  at  all ;  and  that, 
though  he  sit  ever  so  high  and  ever  so  easy  in  his 
own  opinion,  he  u^ill  yet  sit  down  short  of  heaven. 
Where  there  is  life,  one  way  or  other  there  will  be 
growth,  till  we  come  to  the  perfect  man.  "He  that 
hath  clean  hands  shall  be  stronger  and  stronger." 
Paul  was  a  man  of  great  attainments  in  grace,  and 
yet  we  find  him  "forgetting  the  things  that  are  be- 
hind, and  reaching  forth  to  those  that  are  before." 
Those  who  took  joyfully  the  spoiling  of  their  goods, 
are  yet  told  that  they  "  have  need  of  patience." 
Thus  the  meek  of  the  earth  (who  being  on  the 
earth,  are  in  a  state  of  infirmity  and  imperfection,  of 
trial  and  temptation)  have  still  need  of  meekness; 
that  is,  they  must  learn  to  be  yet  more  calm  and 
composed,  more  steady,  and  even,  and  regular  in 
the  government  of  their  passions,  and  in  the  man- 
agement of  their  whole  conversation.  They  who 
have  silenced  all  angry  words,  must  learn  to  sup- 
press the  first  risings  and  motions  of  angry  thoughts. 


It  is  observable  that  when  the  meek  of  the  earth 
are  especially  concerned  to  seek  meekness,  when 
the  day  of  the  Lord's  anger  hastens  on,  when  the 
times  are  bad,  and  desolating  judgments  are  break- 
ing in,  then  we  have  occasion  for  all  the  meekness 
Ave  have,  and  all  we  can  get,  and  all  is  little  enough ; 
meekness  toward  God  the  author,  and  towards  men 
the  instruments  of  our  trouble ;  meekness  to  bear 
the  trial,  and  to  bear  our  testimony  in  the  trial. 
There  is  sometimes  an  "hour  of  temptation,"  a  cri- 
tical day,  when  the  exercise  of  meekness  is  the  work 
of  the  day :  sometimes  the  children  of  men  are  more 
than  ordinarily  provoking,  and  then  the  children  of 
God  have  more  than  commonly  need  of  meekness. 
When  God  is  justly  angry,  and  men  are  unjustly 
angry,  when  our  mother's  children  are  angry  with 
us,  and  our  father  angry  too,  there  is  anger  enough 
stirring,  and  then  "  Blessed  are  the  meek,"  that  are 
careful  to  keep  possession  of  their  souls  when  they 
can  keep  possession  of  nothing  else. 

Now  the  way  prescribed  for  the  attainment  of 
meekness  is  to  seek  it.  Ask  it  of  God,  pray  for  it : 
it  is  a  fruit  of  the  Spirit,  it  is  given  by  the  God  of  all 
grace,  and  to  him  we  must  go  for  it.  It  is  a  brancli 
of  that  Avisdom  which  he  that  lacketh  must  ask  of 
God,  and  it  shall  be  given  him.  The  God  we  ad- 
dress is  called  "the  God  of  patience  and  consola- 
tion;" and  he  is  the  God  of  consolation,  because  the 
God  of  patience,  (for  the  more  patient  we  are,  the 


more  we  are  comforted  under  our  afflictions,)  and 
ag  such  we  must  look  to  him,  when  we  come  to  him 
for  grace  to  make  us  "  like-minded,"  that  is,  meek 
and  loving  one  towards  another,  which  is  the  apos- 
tle's errand  at  the  throne  of  grace.  God's  people 
are,  and  should  be,  a  generation  that  "  covet  the 
best  gifts,"  and  make  their  court  to  the  best  Giver, 
who  never  said  to  the  wrestling  seed  of  Jacob,  Seek 
in  vain;  but  has  given  us  an  assurance  firm  enough 
for  us  to  build  upon,  and  rich  enough  for  us  to  en- 
courage ourselves  with — Seek  and  ye  shall  find. 
What  would  we  more?  Seek  meekness,  and  ye 
shall  find  it. 

The  promise  annexed  is  very  encouraging  to  the 
meek  of  the  earth  that  seek  meekness :  "  it  may  be 
you  shall  be  hid  in  the  day  of  the  Lord's  anger." 
Though  it  be  but  a  promise  Avith  an  "  it  may  be," 
yet  it  ministers  abundance  of  comfort :  God's  pro- 
babilities are  better  than  the  world's  certainties ;  and 
the  meek  ones  of  the  earth  that  hope  in  his  merc)^ 
and  can  venture  their  all  upon  an  intimation  of  his 
good-will,  shall  find  to  their  comfort,  that  when  God 
brings  a  flood  upon  the  world  of  the  ungodly,  he 
has  an  ark  for  all  his  Noahs,  his  resting,  quiet  peo- 
ple, in  which  they  shall  be  hid,  it  may  be,  from  the 
calamity  itself,  at  least  from  the  sting  and  malignity 
of  it;  "  HID,"  (as  Luther  said,)  "  either  in  heaven  or 
under  heaven,  either  in  the  possession  or  under  th* 
protection  of  heaven." 

92  HENRY    OX    meekness; 

2.  We  must  jput  on  meekness.  *'  Put  on  therefore 
(as  the  elect  of  God,  holy  and  beloved) — meekness." 
It  is  one  of  the  members  of  the  new  man,  which  we 
must  put  on.  Put  it  on  as  armor,  to  keep  provoca- 
tions from  the  heart,  and  so  to  defend  the  vitals. 
They  that  have  tried  it  will  say  it  is  "armor  ot 
proof"  When  you  are  putting  on  "  the  whole  armor 
of  God,"  do  not  forget  this.  Put  it  on  as  attire,  as 
your  necessary  clothing,  which  you  cannot  go  with- 
out ;  look  upon  yourselves  as  ungirt,  undrest,  un- 
blest  without  it.  Put  it  on  as  a  livery  garment,  by 
which  you  may  be  known  to  be  the  disciples  of  the 
meek,  and  humble,  and  patient  Jesus,  and  to  belong 
to  that  peaceable  family.  Put  it  on  as  an  ornament, 
as  a  robe  and  a  diadem,  by  which  you  may  be  both 
beautified  and  dignified  in  the  e3'es  of  others.  Put  it 
on  as  the  elect  of  God,  holy  and  beloved,  because 
you  are  so  in  profession  ;  and  that  you  may  approve 
yourselves  so  in  truth  and  reality,  be  clothed  Avith 
meekness  as  the  elect  of  God,  a  choice  people,  a 
chosen  people,  whom  God  has  set  apart  for  himself 
from  the  rest  of  the  world,  as  holy,  sanctified  to  God, 
sanctified  by  him :  study  these  graces,  which  put 
such  a  lustre  upon  holiness,  and  recommend  it  to  that  are  without,  as  beloved,  beloved  of  God, 
beloved  of  man,  beloved  of  your  ministers  :  for  love's 
sake  put  on  meekness.  What  winning,  persuasive 
rhetoric  is  here !  enough,  one  would  think,  to  smooth 
the  rouo-hest  soul,  and  to  soften  and  sweeten  the 


most  obstinate  heart !  Meekness  is  a  grace  of  the 
Spirit's  working,  a  garment  of  his  preparing ;  but 
we  must  put  it  on,  that  is,  Ave  must  lay  our  souls  un- 
der the  commanding  power  and  influence  of  it.  Put 
it  on,  not  as  a  loose  outer  garment,  to  be  put  ofi^in 
hot  weather,  but  let  it  cleave  to  us,  as  the  girdle 
cleaves  to  a  man's  loins ;  so  put  it  on  as  to  reckon 
ourselves  naked  to  our  shame  without  it. 

3.  We  must  follow  after  meekness. — This  pre- 
cept Ave  haA^e  1  Tim.  6:11.  Meekness  is  there  put 
in  opposition  to  those  foolish  and  hurtful  lusts  that 
Timothy  must  flee  from :  "  Thou,  O  man  of  God, 
flee  these  things,  and  folloAV  ^Iter  righteousness, 
godliness,  faith,  loA^e,  patience,  meekness."  See  Avhat 
good  company  it  is  ranked  Avith.  Every  Christian 
is  in  a  sense  a  man  of  God,  (though  Timothy  is 
called  so  as  a  minister,)  and  those  that  belong  to 
God  are  concerned  to  be  and  do  so  as  to  recommend 
themseh^es  to  him,  and  his  religion  to  the  world ; 
therefore  let  the  men  of  God  folloAv  after  meekness. 
The  occasions  and  proA'ocations  of  anger  often  set 
our  meekness  at  a  distance  from  us,  and  aa^o  have  it 
to  seek  Avhen  aa^c  have  most  need  of  it ;  but  Ave  must 
foUoAv  after  it,  and  not  be  taken  off  from  the  pursuit 
by  any  diversion  AvhatsoeA^er.  While  others  are  in- 
genious and  industrious  enough  in  folloAving  after 
malice  and  revenge,  projecting  and  prosecuting  an- 
gry designs,  be  you  Avise  and  dilig'ent  to  preserA^e 
the  peace,  both  Avithin  doors  and  Avithout.    Follow- 


ing  meekness  bespeaks  a  sincere  desire  and  a  seri- 
ous endeavor  to  get  the  mastery  of  our  passion,  and 
to  check,  govern,  and  moderate  all  the  motions  of  it. 
Though  we  cannot  fully  attain  this  mastery,  yet  we 
must  follow  after  it,  and  aim  at  it.  Follow  meek- 
ness, that  is,  as  much  as  in  you  lies  live  peaceably 
with  all  men,  endeavoring  to  keep  the  unity  of  the 
spirit :  we  can  but  make  one  side  of  the  bargain  ;  if 
others  will  quarrel,  yet  let  us  be  peaceable;  if  others 
will  strike  fire,  that  is  their  fault;  let  not  us  be  as 
tinder  to  it. 

4.  We  must  show  all  meekness  unto  all  men. — 
This  is  one  of  the  subjects  which  Paul  directs  a 
young  minister  to  preach  upon.  *'  Put  them  in  mind 
to  show  all  meekness."  It  is  that  which  we  have 
need  to  be  often  reminded  of.  Meekness  is  there  op- 
posed to  brawling  and  clamor,  which  is  the  fruit 
and  product  of  our  own  anger,  and  the  cause  and 
provocation  of  the  anger  of  others.  Observe,  it  is 
"  all  meekness  "  that  is  here  recommended  to  us,  all 
kinds  of  meekness — bearing  meekness,  and  forbear- 
ing meekness;  qualifying  meekness,  and  conde- 
scending meekness ;  forgiving  meekness ;  the  meek- 
ness that  endears  our  friends,  and  that  which  recon- 
ciles our  enemies;  the  meekness  of  authority  over 
inferiors;  the  meekness  of  obedience  to  superiors; 
and  the  meekness  of  wisdom  towards  all.  *'  All 
meekness,"  is  meekness  in  all  relations,  in  reference 
to  all  injuries,  all  sorts  of  provocation,  meekness  iu 


all  the  branches  and  instances  of  it:  in  this  piece  of 
our  obedience  we  must  be  universal.  Observe  fur- 
ther, we  must  not  only  have  meekness,  all  meekness, 
but  we  must  show  it,  by  drawing  out  this  grace  into 
exercise  as  there  is  occasion :  in  our  words,  in  our 
looks,  in  our  actions,  in  every  thing  that  falls  under 
the  observation  of  men,  we  must  manifest  that  we 
have  indeed  a  regard  to  the  law  of  meekness,  and 
that  we  make  conscience  of  what  we  say  and  do, 
when  we  are  provoked.  We  must  not  only  have 
the  law  of  love  written  in  our  hearts,  but  in  our 
tongues  too  we  must  have  *'the  law  of  kindness." 
And  thus  the  tree  is  known  by  its  fruit.  This  light 
must  shine,  that  others  may  see  the  good  works  of 
it,  and  hear  the  good  words  of  it  too,  not  to  glorify 
us,  but  to  glorify  our  Father ;  we  should  study  to  ap- 
pear, in  all  our  converse,  so  mild,  and  gentle,  and 
peaceable,  that  all  who  see  us  may  witness  for  us  that 
we  are  of  the  meek  of  the  earth.  We  must  not  only 
be  moderate,  but  "  let  our  moderation  be  known." 
.  He  that  is  in  this  respect  a  wise  man,  let  him  show 
it  in  the  "  meekness  of  wisdom."  What  are  good 
clothes  worth  if  they  be  not  worn  ?  Why  has  the 
gervant  a  fine  livery  given  him,  but  to  show  it  for 
the  honor  of  his  master,  and  of  the  family  he  belongs 
to?  How  can  we  say  we  are  meek,  if  we  do  not 
show  it  ?  The  showing  of  our  meekness  will  beau- 
tify our  profession,  and  will  adorn  the  doctrines  of 
God  our  Savior,  and  may  have  a  very  good  influence 


upon  others,  who  cannot  but  be  in  love  with  such 
an  excellent  grace,  when  thus,  like  the  oinlment  of 
the  right  hand,  it  betrayeth  itself,  and  the  house  is 
filled  w^th  the  odor  of  it. 

Again,  this  meekness  must  be  thus  showed  wito  all 
vieii — foes  as  well  as  friends,  those  without  as  well  as 
those  within,  all  that  we  have  any  thing  to  do  with. 
We  must  show  our  meekness  not  only  to  those 
above  us,  of  whom  we  stand  in  awe,  but  to  those 
below  us,  over  whom  we  have  authority.  The  poor 
indeed  use  entreaties,  but  Avhatever  is  the  practice, 
it  is  not  the  privilege  of  the  rich  to  "  answer  rough- 
ly." We  must  show  our  meekness  "  not  only  to  the 
good  and  gentle,  but  also  to  the  froward,  for  this  is 
thankworthy."  Our  meekness  must  be  as  extensive 
as  our  love,  so  exceeding  broad  is  this  command- 
ment, *'  all  meekness  to  all  men."  We  must  show 
this  meekness  most  to  those  with  whom  we  most 
converse.  There  are  some,  that,  when  they  are  in 
company  with  strangers,  appear  very  mild  and  good- 
humored,  their  behavior  is  plausible  enough  and 
complaisant ;  but  in  their  families  they  are  peevish, 
and  froward,  and  ill-natured,  and  those  about  theni 
scarce  know  how  to  speak  to  them :  this  shows  that 
the  fear  of  man  gives  greater  check  to  their  passions 
than  the  fear  of  God.  Our  rule  is  to  be  meek  toward 
all,  even  to  the  brute  creation,  over  whom  we  are 
lords,  but  must  not  be  tyrants. 

Observe  the  reason  which  the  apostle  gives  why 


we  should  show  all  meekness  toward  all  men  ;  "  for 
we  ourselves  also  were  sometime  foolish."  Time 
was,  when  perhaps  we  were  as  bad  as  the  worst  of 
those  we  are  now  angry  at ;  and  if  now  it  be  better 
with  us,  we  are  purely  beholden  to  the  free  grace  of 
God  in  Christ  that  made  the  difference ;  and  shall 
we  be  harsh  to  our  brethren,  who  have  found  God 
so  kind  to  us?  Has  God  forgiven  us  our  great  debt, 
and  passed  by  so  many  willful  provocations;  and  shall 
we  be  extreme  to  mark  what  is  done  amiss  against 
us,  and  make  the  worst  of  every  slip  and  oversight  ? 
The  great  Gospel  argument  for  mutual  forbearance 
and  forgiveness  is,  that  "  God  for  Christ's  sake  has 
forgiv-en  us." 

It  may  be  of  use  also  for  the  qualifying  of  our  an- 
ger at  inferiors,  to  remember  not  only  our  former 
sinfulness  against  God  in  our  unconverted  state,  but 
our  former  infirmities  in  the  age  and  state  of  infe- 
riors :  were  not  Ave  ourselves  sometimes  foolish  1 
Our  children  are  careless,  and  playful,  andfroward, 
and  scarcely  governable ;  and  were  not  we  ourselves 
so  when  we  were  of  their  age?  And  if  we  have  now 
put  away  childish  things,  yet  they  have  not.  Chil- 
dren may  be  brought  up  in  the  nurture  and  admo- 
nition of  the  Lord,  without  being  provoked  to  wrath. 

5.  We  I'.ust  '*  study  to  be  quiet,"  that  is,  study  not 

to  disturb  others,  nor  to  be  ourselves  disturbed  by 

others :  be  ambitious  of  this,  as  the  greatest  honor ; 

so  the  word  signifies.    The  most  of  men  are  ambi- 



tious  of  the  honor  of  great  business,  and  power,  and 
preferment;  they  covet  it,  they  court  it,  they  com- 
pass sea  and  land  to  obtain  it ;  but  the  ambition  of  a 
Christian  should  be  carried  out  towards  quietness: 
we  should  reckon  that  the  happiest  post,  and  desire 
it  accordingly,  which  lies  most  out  of  the  road  of 

'*  Let  him  that  will,  ascend  the  tottering  seat 
**  Of  courtly  grandeur,  and  become  as  great 
"As  are  his  mounting  wishes :  as  for  me, 
"Let  sweet  repose  and  rest  my  portion  be. 

•"  Let  my  age 

"  Slide  gently  by,  not  overthwart  the  stage 

"  Of  public  action,  unheard,  unseen, 

"  And  unconcern'd,  as  if  I  ne'er  had  been." 

This  is  studying  to  be  quiet.  Subdue  and  keep 
under  all  those  disorderly  passions  which  tend  to 
the  disturbing  and  clouding  of  the  soul.  Compose 
yourselves  to  this  holy  rest ;  put  yourselves  in  a  pos- 
ture to  invite  this  blessed  sleep  which  God  gives  to 
his  beloved.  Take  pains,  as  students  in  arts  and 
sciences  do,  to  understand  the  mystery  of  this  grace. 
I.  call  it  a  mystery,  because  St.  Paul,  who  was  so 
well  versed  in  the  deep  things  of  God,  speaks  of  this 
as  a  mystery.  "  I  am  instructed,"  as  in  a  mj^stery, 
"  both  to  be  full  and  to  be  hungry,  bo^h  to  abound 
and  to  suffer  need :"  that  is,  in  one  word,  to  be  quiet. 
To  study  the  art  of  quietness  is  to  take  pains  with 
ourselves,  to  have  in  our  own  hearts  the  principles, 


rules,  and  laws  of  meekness;  and  to  furnish  our- 
selves with  such  considerations  as  tend  to  thequit^t- 
ing  of  the  spirit  in  the  midst  of  the  greatest  provoca- 
tions. Others  are  studying  to  disquiet  us  ;  the  more 
need  we  have  to  study  how  to  quiet  ourselves,  by  a 
careful  watching  against  all  that  which  is  ruffling 
and  discomposing.  Christians  should,  above  all  stu- 
dies, study  to  be  quiet,  and  labor  to  be  actuated  by 
an  even  spirit  under  all  the  unevenness  of  Provi- 
dence, and  remember  that  one  good  word  which  Sir 
William  Temple  tells  us  the  prince  of  Orange  said 
he  learnt  from  the  master  of  his  ship,  who,  in  a  storm, 
was  calling  to  the  steersman,  "  Steady,  steady."  Let 
but  the  hand  be  steady  and  the  heart  quiet,  and 
though  our  passage  be  rough,  we  may  weather  the 
point,  and  get  safe  to  the  harbor. 



Good  examples  help  very  much  to  illustrate  and 
enforce  good  rules,  bringing  them  closer  to  particu- 
lar cases,  and  showing  them  to  be  practicable.  Pre- 
cedents are  of  great  use  in  the  law.    If  w^e  would  be 

100  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

found  wallang  in  the  same  spirit,  and  walking  in  the 
same  steps  with  those  that  are  gone  before  us  to 
glory,  this  is  the  spirit  by  which  we  must  be  actua- 
ted, and  these  the  steps  in  which  we  must  walk :  this 
is  the  way  of  good  men,  for  wise  men  to  walk  in. 
Let  us  go  forth  then  "by  the  footsteps  of  the  flock," 
and  set  ourselves  to  follow  them  who  through  faith 
and  patience  inherit  the  promises.  We  are  compassed 
about  with  a  great  cloud  of  witnesses,  who  will  bear 
their  testimony  to  the  comfort  of  meekness,  and  upon 
trial  recommend  it  to  us ;  but  we  shall  single  out  only 
some  few  from  the  Scripture. 

1.  Abraham  was  a  pattern  of  meekness,  and  he 
was  the  father  of  the  faithful.  As  he  was  famous  for 
faith,  so  was  he  for  meekness ;  for  the  more  we  have 
of  faith  toward  God,  the  more  we  shall  have  of  meek- 
ness toward  all  men.  How  meek  was  Abraham, 
when  there  happened  a  strife  betwixt  his  herdsmen 
and  Lot's,  which,  had  it  proceeded,  might  have  been 
of  ill  consequence,  for  "  the  Canaanite  and  the  Pe- 
rizzite  dwelled  then  in  the  land;"  but  it  was  season- 
ably overruled  by  the  prudence  of  Abraham.  "  Let 
there  be  no  strife,  I  pray  thee :"  though  he  might 
command  peace,  yet  for  love's  sake  he  rather  be- 
seeches. Every  word  has  an  air  of  meekness,  and  a 
tendency  to  peace.  And  when  the  expedient  for  the 
.  prevention  of  strife  was  their  parting  from  each  other, 
though  Lot  was  the  junior,  yet  Abraham,  for  peace- 
sake,  quitted  his  right,  and  gave  Lot  the  choice;  and 


the  gracious  visit  which  God  gave  him  thereupon, 
was  an  abundant  recompense  for  his  mildness  and 

Another  instance  of  Abraham's  meekness  we  have 
when  Sarah  quarreled  with  him  so  unreasonably 
about  her  maid,  angry  at  that  which  she  herself  had 
done.  "  My  wrong  be  upon  thee : — the  Lord  judge 
between  thee  and  me."  Abraham  might  soon  have 
replied,  You  may  thank  yourself,  it  was  your  own 
contrivance ;  but,  laying  aside  the  present  provoca- 
tion, he  abides  by  one  of  the  original  rules  of  the  re- 
lation, *'  Behold,  thy  maid  is  in  thy  hand."  He  did 
not  answer  passion  with  passion,  that  would  have 
put  all  into  a  flame ;  but  he  answered  passion  with 
meekness,  and  so  all  was  quiet. 

Another  instance  of  Abraham's  meekness  we 
have  in  the  transactions  between  him  and  Abimelech 
his  neighbor.  He  first  enters  into  a  covenant  of 
friendship  with  him,  which  w^as  confirmed  by  an 
oath,  and  then  (not  reproaches  him,  but)  reproves 
him  for  a  wrong  that  his  servants  had  done  him 
about  a  Well  of  water  ;  which  gives  us  this  rule  of 
meekness,  "  Not  to  break  friendship  for  a  small  mat- 
ter of  difference  :"  such  and  such  occasions  there  are, 
which  they  that  are  disposed  to  it  might  quarrel 
about ;  but  "  what  is  that  between  me  and  thee  ?" 

If  meekness  rule,  matters  in  variance  may  be  fair- 
ly reasoned  and  adjusted,  without  violation  or  in- 
fringement of  friendship.     This  is  the  example  of 

H.    M.  9* 

102  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

that  great  patriarch.  The  future  happiness  of  the 
saints  is  represented  as  the  bosom  of  Abraham — a 
quiet  state.  Those  who  hope  to  lie  in  the  bosom  of 
Abraham  shortly,  must  tread  in  the  steps  of  Abra- 
ham now,  whose  children  we  are  as  long  as  we  thus 
do  well,  "  and  who  "  (as  Maimonides  expresses  it) 
**  is  the  father  of  all  who  are  gathered  under  the 
wings  of  the  Divine  Majesty." 

2.  Moses  was  a  pattern  of  meekness,  it  was  his 
master-grace,  that  in  which,  more  than  in  any  other, 
he  excelled.  This  testimony  the  Holy  Ghost  gives 
of  him,  that  "  the  man  Moses  was  very  meek,  above 
all  the  men  which  were  upon  the  face  of  the  earth." 

This  character  of  him  is  given  upon  occasion  of 
an  affront  he  received  from  those  of  his  own  house ; 
which  intimates  that  his  quiet  and  patient  bearing  it 
was  the  greatest  proof  and  instance  of  his  meekness. 
Those  can  bear  any  provocation,  that  can  bear  it 
from  their  near  relations.  The  meekness  of  Moses, 
as  the  patience  of  Job,  was  tried  on  all  hands.  Ar- 
mor of  proof  shall  be  sure  to  be  shot  at.  It  should 
seem  that  his  wife  was  none  of  the  best  humored 
women ;  for  what  a  passion  was  she  in  about  the  cir- 
cumcising of  her  son,  when  she  reproached  him  as 
a  bloody  husband ;  and  we  do  not  read  of  one  word 
that  he  replied,  but  let  her  have  her  saying.  When 
God  was  angry,  and  Zipporah  angry,  it  was  best 
for  him  to  be  quiet.  The  lot  of  his  public  work  was 
cast  "  in  the  provocation,  in  the  day  of  temptation  in- 


the  wilderness ;"  but  as  if  all  the  mutinies  of  mur- 
muring Israel  were  too  little  to  try  the  meekness  of 
Moses,  his  own  brother  and  sister,  and  those  of  no 
less  a  figure  than  Miriam  the  prophetess,  and  Aaron 
the  saint  of  the  Lord,  quarrel  with  him,  speak  against 
him,  envy  his  honor,  reproach  his  marriage,  and  are 
ready  to  head  a  rebellion  against  him.  God  heard 
this,  and  was  angry;  Num.  12  :  2,  9;  but  Moses, 
though  he  had  reason  enough  to  resent  it  wrathful ly, 
was  not  at  all  moved  by  it,  took  no  notice  of  it,  made 
no  complaint  to  God,  no  answer  to  them,  and  we  do 
not  find  one  word  that  he  said,  till  we  find  him  pray- 
ing heartily  for  his  provoking  sister,  who  was  then 
under  the  tokens  of  God's  displeasure  for  the  afl[ront 
she  gave  him.  The  less  a  man  strives  for  himself, 
the  more  is  God  engaged  in  honor  and  faithfulness 
to  appear  for  him.  When  Christ  said,  "  I  seek  not 
mine  own  glory,"  he  presently  added,  *'  but  there  is 
one  that  seeketh  and  judgeth."  And  it  Avas  upon 
this  occasion  that  Moses  obtained  this  good  report, 
**  He  was  the  meekest  of  all  the  men  on  the  earth/' 
*'  No  man,"  says  bishop  Hall,  "  could  have  given 
greater  proofs  of  courage  than  Moses.  He  slew  the 
Egyptian,  beat  the  Midianite  shepherds,  confronted 
Pharaoh  in  his  own  court,  not  fearing  the  wrath  of 
the  king ;  he  durst  look  God  in  the  face  amidst  all 
the  terrors  of  mount  Sinai,  and  draw  near  to  the 
thick  darkness  where  God  was ;  and  yet  that  Spirit 
which  made  and  knew  his  heart,  saith  he  was  the 

104'  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

meekest,  mildest  man  upon  the  earth.  Mildness  and 
fortitude  maj?-  well  lodge  together  in  the  same  breast, 
which  corrects  the  mistake  of  those  that  will  allow 
none  valiant  but  the  fierce." 

The  meekness  of  Moses  qualified  him  to  be  a 
magistrate,  especially  to  be  king  in  Jeshurun,  among 
a  people  so  very  provoking  that  they  gave  him  oc- 
casion to  use  all  the  meekness  he  had,  and  all  little 
enough  to  bear  their  manners  in  the  wilderness. 
When  they  murmured  against  him,  quarreled  with 
him,  arraigned  his  authorit}'-,  and  were  sometimes 
ready  to  stone  him,  he  resented  these  provocations 
with  very  little  of  personal  application  or  concern  ; 
but  instead  of  using  his  interest  in  heaven  to  sum- 
mon plagues  upon  them,  he  made  it  his  business  to 
stand  in  the  gap,  and,  by  his  intercession  for  them, 
to  turn  away  the  wrath  of  God  from  them ;  and  this 
not  once  or  twice  only,  but  many  times. 

And  yet  we  must  observe  that,  though  Moses  was 
the  meekest  man  in  the  world,  yet,  when  God's  hon- 
or and  glory  were  concerned,  no  one  was  more 
warm  and  zealous:  witness  his  resentment  of  the 
golden  calf,  when,  in  a  holy  indignation  at  that 
abominable  iniquity,  he  deliberately  broke  the  tables. 
And  when  Korah  and  his  cmv  invaded  the  priest's 
office,  Moses,  in  a  pious  wrath,  said  unto  the  Lord, 
*'  Respect  not  thou  their  offering."  He  that  was  a 
iamb  in  his  own  cause,  was  a  lion  in  the  cause  of 
God :  anger  at  sin,  as  sin,  is  very  well  consistent 


i\'ith  reigning  meekness.  Nor  can  it  be  forgotten, 
that  though  Moses  was  eminent  for  meekness,  yet, 
he  once  transgressed  the  laws  of  it ;  when  he  was 
old,  and  his  spirit  was  provoked,  he  spake  unadvi- 
sedly with  his  lips,  and  it  went  ill  with  him  lor  it ; 
Psalm  106  :  32;  which  is  written  not  for  imitation, 
but  for  admonition  ;  not  to  justify  our  rash  anger,  but 
to  engage  us  to  stand  upon  our  guard  at  all  times 
against  it,  that  he  who  thinks  he  stands  may  take 
heed  lest  he  fall,  and  that  he  who  has  thus  fallen 
may  not  wonder  if  he  come  under  the  rebukes  of 
Divine  Providence  for  it  in  this  world,  as  Moses  did, 
and  yet  may  not  despair  of  being  pardoned  upon 

3.  David  was  a  pattern  of  meekness,  and  it  is 
promised  that  "  the  feeble  shall  be  as  David."  In 
this,  as  in  other  instances,  he  was  a  man  after  God's 
own  heart.  When  his  own  brother  was  so  rough 
upon  him  without  reason,  "  Why  camest  thou  down 
hither  ?"  how  mild  was  his  answer  !  *'  What  have 
I  now  done?  Is  there  not  a  cause?"  When  his 
enemies  reproached  him,  he  was  not  at  all  disturbed 
at  it.  "I,  as  a  deaf  man,  heard  not."  When  Saul 
persecuted  him  with  such  an  unwearied  malice,  he 
did  not  take  the  advantage  which  Providence  seemed 
to  offer  him,  more  than  once,  to  revenge  himself,  but 
left  it  to  God.  David's  meek  spirit  concurred  with 
the  proverb  of  the  ancients ;  "  wickedness  proceed- 
eth  from  the  wicked,  but  my  hand  shall  not  be  upon 

106  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

thee."  When  Nabal's  churlishness  provoked  him, 
yet  Abigail's  prudence  soon  pacified  him,  and  it 
pleased  him  to  be  pacified.  When  Shimei  cursed 
him  with  a  bitter  curse  in  the  day  of  his  calamity, 
he  resented  not  the  offence,  nor  would  hear  any  talk 
of  punishing  the  offender:  *' So  let  him  curse  ;  let 
him  alone,  for  the  Lord  hath  bidden  him :"  quietly 
committing  his  cause  to  God,  who  judges  righteously. 
And  other  instances  there  are  in  his  story,  which 
<*vidence  the  truth  of  what  he  said  ;  *'  My  soul  is 
even  like  a  weaned  child."  And  yet  David  was  a 
great  soldier,  a  man  of  celebrated  courage,  that  slew 
a  lion,  and  a  bear,  and  a  Philistine,  (as  much  a  ra- 
venous beast  as  either  of  them,)  which  shows  that 
it  was  his  wisdom  and  grace,  and  not  his  cowardice, 
that  at  other  times  made  him  so  quiet.  David  was  a 
man  that  met  with  very  many  disquieting  and  disturb- 
ing events  in  the  several  scenes  of  his  life,  through 
which,  though  they  sometimes  ruffled  him  a  little,  yet» 
for  the  main,  he  preserved  an  admirable  temper,  and 
an  evenness  and  composedness  of  mind  which  was 
very  exemplary.  When,  upon  the  surprise  of  a  fright, 
he  changed  his  behavior  before  Abimelech,  and  coun- 
terfeited that  madness  which  angry  people  realize, 
yet  his  mind  was  so  very  quiet  and  undisturbed  that, 
lit  that  time,  he  penned  the  34th  Psalm,  in  which  not 
only  the  excellency  of  the  matter,  and  the  calmness 
of  the  expression,  but  the  composing  of  it  alphabeti- 
cally, (in  the  Hebrew,)  speaks  him  to  be,  even  then, 


in  a  sedate  frame,  and  to  have  very  much  the  com- 
mand of  his  own  thoughts.  As,  at  another  time, 
when  his  own  followers  spake  of  stoning  him,  though 
he  could  not  still  the  tumult  of  his  troops,  he  could 
-those  of  his  spirit,  for  then  he  **  encouraged  himself 
in  the  Lord  his  God."  As  to  those  prayers  against 
his  enemies,  which  we  find  in  some  of  his  psalms, 
surely  they  did  not  proceed  from  any  such  irregular 
passion  as  did  in  the  least  clash  even  with  the  evan- 
gelical laws  of  meekness.  We  cannot  imagine  that 
one  who  was  so  piously  calm  in  his  common  conver- 
sation, should  be  sinfully  hot  in  his  devotion  ;  nor 
are  they  to  be  looked  upon  as  the  private  expressions 
of  his  own  angry  resentments,  but  as  inspired  pre- 
dictions of  God's  judgments  upon  the  public  and  ob- 
stinate enemies  of  Christ  and  his  kingdom,  as  ap- 
pears by  comparing  Psalm  69  :  22,  23,  Math  Rom. 
11  :  9,  10;  and  Psalm  109  :  8,  with  Acts,  1  :  20. 
Nor  are  they  any  more  opposite  to  the  spirit  of  the 
Gospel  than  the  cries  of  the  souls  under  the  altar,  or 
the  triumphs  of  heaven  and  earth  in  the  destruction 
of  Babylon.     Rev.  6  :  10;  19  :  1. 

4.  Paul  was  a  pattern  of  meekness.  Though  his 
natural  temper  seems  to  have  been  warm  and  eager, 
which  made  him  eminently  active  and  zealous,  yet 
that  temper  was  so  rectified  and  sanctified  that  he 
was  no  less  eminently  m^ek :  he  became  all  things 
to  all  men.  He  studied  to  please  all  with  whom  he 
had  to  do,  and  to  render  himself  engaging  to  them 

108  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

for  their  good  to  edification.  How  patiently  did  he 
bear  the  greatest  injuries  and  indignities,  not  only 
from  Jews  and  heathens,  but  from  false  brethren,  that 
were  so  very  industrious  to  abuse  and  undermine 
him  !  How  glad  was  he  that  Christ  was  preached, 
though  out  of  envy  and  ill-will,  by  those  that  studied 
to  add  affliction  to  his  bonds !  In  governing  the 
church,  he  was  not  led  by  the  sudden  resolves  ot 
passion,  but  always  deliberated  calmly  concerning 
the  use  of  the  rod  of  discipline  when  there  was  oc- 
casion for  it.  *'  Shall  I  come  to  you  with  a  rod,  or 
in  the  spirit  of  meekness?" — that  is.  Shall  I  proceed 
immediately  to  censures,  or  shall  I  not  rather  con- 
tinue the  same  gentle  usage  as  hitherto,  waiting  still 
for  your  reformation  ?  Herein  the  spirit  of  meek- 
ness appears  more  open  and  legible  than  in  the  use 
of  the  rod,  though  that  also  is  very  well  consistent 
with  it. 

Many  other  examples  of  meekness  might  be  ad- 
duced, but  the  time  would  fail  me  to  tell  of  Isaac, 
and  Jacob,  and  Joseph,  and  Joshua  ;  of  Samuel  also, 
and  Job,  and  Jeremiah,  and  all  the  prophets  and 
apostles,  martyrs  and  confessors,  and  eminent  saints, 
who  by  meekness  subdued  (not  kingdoms,  but)  their 
own  spirits;  slopt  the  mouths  (not  of  lions,  but)  of 
more  fierce  and  formidable  enemies ;  quenched  the 
violence  (not  of  fire,  but)  of  intemperate  and  more 
ungovernable  passions  ;  and  so  \^rought  righteous- 
ness, obtained  promises,  escaped  the  edge  of  the 


sword,  and  out  of  weakness  were  made  strong;  and 
by  all  this  obtained  a  good  report.  Heb.  1 1  :  32,  33, 
34.^ — But,  after  all, 

5.  Our  Lord  Jesus  was  the  great  pattern  of  meek- 
ness and  quietness  of  spirit ;  all  the  rest  had  their 
spots,  but  here  is  a  copy  without  a  blot.  We  must  fol- 
low the  rest  no  further  than  they  were  conformable  to 
this  great  original:  •'  Be  ye  followers  of  me,"  says 
Paul,  "as  I  am  of  Christ."  He  fulfilled  all  rights 
eousness,  and  was  a  complete  exemplar  of  all  that  is 
holy,  just,  and  good;  but  I  think,  in  most,  if  not  all 
those  places  of  Scripture  where  he  is  particularly 
and  expressly  propounded  to  us  for  an  example,  it 
is  to  recommend  to  us  some  or  other  of  the  duties  of 
Christianity ;  those  I  mean  which  tend  to  the  sweet- 
ening of  our  converse  one  with  another.  The  Word 
was  made  flesh,  and  dwelt  among  us,  that  he  might 
teach  us  how  to  dwell  together  in  unity.  We  must 
walk  in  love,  as  Christ  loved  us;  forgive,  as  Christ 
forgave  us ;  please  one  another,  for  Christ  pleased 
not  himself;  be  charitable  to  the  poor,  for  we  know 
the  grace  of  our  Lord  Jesus;  wash  one  another's 
feet,  that  is,  stoop  to  the  meanest  offices  of  love,  for 
Christ  did  so  ;  doing  all  with  lowliness  of  mind,  for 
it  is  the  same  mind  that  was  in  Christ  Jesus ;  but 
above  all,  our  Lord  Jesus  was  an  example  of  meek- 
ness. Moses  had  this  grace  as  a  servant,  but  Christ 
as  a  son  ;  he  was  anointed  with  it  above  measure. 
He  is  called  the  "  Lamb  of  God,"  for  his  meekness, 

H.  M.  10 

110  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

and  patience,  and  inoffensiveness,  and  even  in  his 
exaltation  he  retains  the  same  character.  One  of 
the  elders  told  John,  that  *'  the  Lion  of  the  tribe  of 
Judah "  would  open  the  sealed  book ;  "  and  I  be- 
held," says  John,  ''and  lo!  a  Lamb."  He  that  was 
a  lion  for  strength  and  courage,  was  a  lamb  for  mild- 
ness and  gentleness ;  and  if  a  lion,  yet  "  the  Lion  of 
the  tribe  of  Judah,"  which  the  dying  patriarch  de- 
scribes to  be  a  lion  gone  up  from  the  prey,  and  that 
is  stooped  down  and  couched,  and  not  to  be  roused 
up;  Gen.  49:9;  indicating  the  quietness  and  re- 
pose even  of  this  lion.  If  Christ  be  a  lion,  he  is  a 
lion  resting — the  devil  is  a  lion  roaring.  But  the 
adorations  given  to  Christ  by  the  heavenly  hosts 
speak  of  him  as  the  Lamb.  "  Blessing  and  glory  to 
him  that  sits  upon  the  throne ;"  they  do  not  say,  and 
to  the  Lion  of  the  tribe  of  Judah,  but  to  "  the  Lamb." 
Though  he  has  a  name  given  him  above  every  name, 
yet  he  will  be  known  by  that  name  which  denotes 
his  meekness,  as  if  this  were  to  be  his  name  for  ever, 
and  this  his  memorial  to  all  generations.  As  he 
that  rides  upon  the  heavens,  by  his  name  Jah,  is  the 
Father  of  the  fatherless  and  the  Judge  of  the  wi- 
dows ;  so  Christ  rides  "  prosperously,  because  of 

Now  it  is  the  character  of  all  the  saints  that  they 
follow  the  Lamb :  as  a  lamb  they  follow  him  in  his 
meekness,  and  are  therefore  so  often  called  the  sheep 
of  Christ.     This  is  that  part  of  his  copy  which  he 


expressly  calls  us  to  write  after :  "  Learn  of  me,  for 
I  am  meek  and  lowly  in  heart."  If  the  master  be 
mild,  it  ill  becomes  the  servant  to  be  froward.  The 
apostle  is  speaking  of  Christ's  meekness  under  his 
sufferings,  when  he  says  that  he  "  left  us  an  exam- 
ple that  we  should  follow  his  steps." 

Let  us  observe  particularly  the  meekness  of  our 
Lord  Jesus  towards  his  Father,  and  towards  his 
friends,  and  towards  his  foes ;  in  each  of  which  he 
is  an  example  to  us. 

1.  He  was  very  meek  towards  God  his  Father, 
cheerfully  submitting  to  his  whole  will,  and  standing 
complete  in  it.  In  his  commanding  will,  *'  Lo,  I 
come,"  says  he,  *'  I  delight  to  do  thy  will ;"  though  it 
enjoined  him  a  very  hard  service,  yet  it  w^as  '•  his 
meat  and  drink ;"  and  he  always  did  those  things 
that  pleased  his  Father.  So,  likewise,  in  his  dispos- 
ing will  he  acquiesced  from  first  to  last.  When  he 
was  entering  on  that  sharp  encounter,  though  sense 
startled  at  it,  and  said,  "  Father,  if  it  be  possible,  let 
the  cup  pass  from  me ;"  yet  he  soon  submitted  with  a 
great  deal  of  meekness ;  "  Not  as  I  will,  but  as  thou 
wilt."  Though  it  was  a  very  bitter  cup,  yet  his  Fa- 
ther put  it  into  his  hand,  and  therefore  he  drank  it : 
"  The  cup  that  my  Father  hath  given  me,  shall  I 
not  drink  it  ?" 

2.  He  was  very  meek  towards  his  friends  that 
loved  and  followed  him.  With  what  remarkable 
instances  of  mildness,  gentleness,  and  tenderness  did 

112  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

he  train  up  his  disciples !  though  from  first  to  last  he 
was  "  a  man  of  sorrows  and  acquainted  with  grief." 
Where  nature  is  corrupt,  such  are  apt  to  be  peevish 
and  froward  with  those  about  them ;  yet  how  meekly 
and  calmly  did  he  bear  with  their  weaknesses  and 
infirmities  !  After  they  had  been  long  under  the  in- 
spection and  influence  of  such  a  teacher,  and  had  all 
the  advantages  that  men  could  have  for  acquaintance 
with  the  things  of  God,  yet  how  weak  and  defective 
were  they  in  knowledge,  and  gifts,  and  graces  1  How 
ignorant  and  forgetful  were  they  !  How  slow  of 
heart  to  understand  and  believe  !  And  what  blun- 
ders did  they  make  !  Dull  scholars  it  should  seem 
they  were,  and  bad  proficients.  But  their  hearts  be- 
ing upright  with  him,  he  did  not  cast  them  off,  nor 
turn  them  out  of  his  school,  but  rectified  their  mis- 
takes, instructed  them  in  their  duty,  and  the  doctrine 
they  were  to  preach,  by  precept  upon  precept,  and 
line  upon  line  ;  and  taught  them,  as  they  were  able 
to  bear  it,  as  one  that  considered  their  frame,  and 
could  "  have  compassion  on  the  ignorant,  and  on 
them  that  are  out  of  the  way."  As  long  as  he  was 
with  them,  so  long  he  suffered  them.  Mark,  9  :  19. 
This,  as  it  is  a  great  encouragement  to  Christian 
learners,  so  it  is  a  great  example  toChristian  teachers. 
Also  Christ  was  meek,  in  his  forgiving  and  pass- 
ing by  their  unkindness  and  disrespect  to  himself. 
He  was  not  extreme  to  mark  what  they  did  amiss  of 
this  kind.     When  they  murmured  at  the  cost  that 



was  bestowed  upon  him,  and  called  it  waste,  and 
had  indignation  at  it,  he  did  not  resent  it  as  he  might 
have  done,  nor  seem  to  observe  how  much  what 
they  said  reflected  upon  him  :  nor  did  he  condemn 
them  any  other  way  than  by  commending  the  wo- 
man. When  Peter,  and  James,  and  John,  the  first 
three  of  his  disciples,  were  with  him  in  the  garden, 
and  very  unseasonably  slept  while  he  was  in  his 
agony  praying,  so  little  concerned  did  they  seem  to 
be  for  him,  yet  observe  how  meekly  he  spoke  to 
them:  "  Could  ye  not  watch  with  me  one  hour?" 
And  when  they  had  not  a  word  to  say  for  themselves, 
so  inexcusable  was  their  fault,  he  had  something  to 
say  for  them,  and  instead  of  accusing  them,  he  apo- 
logizes for  them :  "  The  spirit  indeed  is  willing,  but 
the  flesh  is  weak."  When  Peter  had  denied  him, 
and  had  cursed  and  sworn  he  did  not  know  him, 
than  which  (besides  the  falsehood  and  perfidiousness 
of  it)  nothing  could  be  more  unkind ;  with  what 
meekness  did  he  bear  it !  It  is  not  said,  the  Lord 
turned  and  frowned  upon  Peter,  though  he  deserved 
to  be  frowned  into  hell,  but,  "  the  Lord  turned  and 
looked  upon  Peter,"  and  that  look  recovered  him 
into  the  way  to  heaven ;  it  was  a  kind  look,  and  not 
an  angry  one.  Some  days  after,  when  Christ  and 
Peter  met  in  Galilee,  and  had  dined  together  as  a 
token  of  reconciliation,  and  some  discourse  passed 
between  them,  not  a  word  was  said  of  this  matter ; 
Christ  did  not  upbraid  him  with  his  fault,  nor  chide 

114  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

him  for  it,  nor  did  there  appear  any  other  fruit  of 
the  falling  out  of  these  lovers,  but  only  the  renew- 
ing of  thdf  love  with  greater  endearments ;  which 
teaches  us  to  forgive  and  forget  the  unkindness  of 
those  that  are  for  the  main  our  true  friends,  and  if 
any  occasion  of  difference  happens,  to  turn  it  into  an 
occasion  of  confirming  our  love  to  them. 

3.  He  was  very  meek  toward  his  enemies,  that 
hated  and  persecuted  him.  The  whole  story  of  his 
life  is  filled  with  instances  of  invincible  meekness. 
While  he  "  endured  the  contradiction  of  smners 
against  himself,"  he  had  a  perpetual  serenity  and 
harmony  within,  and  was  never  in  the  least  discom- 
posed by  it.  When  his  preaching  and  miracles  were 
cavilled  at  and  reproached,  and  he  himself  repre- 
sented uijder  the  blackest  characters,  not  only  as  the 
drunkard's  companion,  but  as  the  devil's  confederate, 
with  what  a  wonderful  calmness  did  he  bear  it! 
How  mildly  did  he  answer  with  reason  and  tender- 
ness, when  he  could  have  replied  in  thunder  and 
lightning !  How  well  satisfied,  under  all  such  invi- 
dious reflections,  with  this,  that  "  wisdom  is  justified 
of  all  her  children  !"  When  some  of  his  disciples 
would  have  had  fire  from  heaven  upon  those  rude 
people  that  refused  him  entertainment  in  their  town, 
he  was  so  far  from  complying  with  the  motion,  that 
he  rebuked  it :  "  Ye  know  not  what  manner  of  spiri 
ye  are  of."  "  This  persuasion  cometh  not  of  Him 
that  calleth  you."    The  design  of  Christ  and  of  his 


holy  religion  is  to  sh^pe  men  into  a  mild  and  mer- 
r.iial  temper,  and  to  make  them  sensibly  tender  of 
the  lives  and  comfort  even  of  their  worst  enemies. 
Christianity  was  intended  to  revive  humanity,  and 
to  make  those  men,  who  had  made  themselves  beasts. 
J3ut  our  Lord  Jesus  did  in  a  more  especial  manner 
evidence  his  meekness  when  he  was  in  his  last  suf- 
ferings— that  awful  scene.  Though  he  was  the  most 
innocent  and  the  most  excellent  person  that  ever  was, 
who,  by  the  doctrine  he  had  preached  and  the  mira- 
cles he  had  wrought,  had  richly  deserved  all  the  ho- 
nors and  respect  that  the  world  could  pay  him,  and 
infinitely  more;  and  though  the  injuries  he  received 
were  ingeniously  and  industriously  contrived  to  the 
highest  degree  of  affront  and  provocation ;  yet  he 
bore  all  with  an  undisturbed  meekness,  and  with 
that  shield  quenched  all  the  fiery  darts  which  his 
malicious  enemies  shot  at  him. 

His  meekness  toward  his  enemies  appeared  in 
what  he  said  to  them — not  one  angry  word,  in  the 
midst  of  all  the  indignities  they  offered  him.  '*  When 
he  was  reviled,  he  reviled  not  again."  When  he  was 
buffeted,  and  spit  upon,  and  abused,  he  took  it  all 
patiently ;  one  would  wonder  at  the  gracious  words 
which  even  then  proceeded  out  of  his  mouth ;  wit- 
ness that  mild  reply  to  him  that  smote  him :  "  If  I 
have  spoken  evil,  bear  witness  of  the  evil ;  but  if 
well,  why  smitest  thou  me?" 

Also  his  meekness  towards  his  enemies  appeared 

116  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

in  what  he  said  to  God  for  them :  "  Father,  forgive 
them  ;"  so  giving  an  example  to  his  own  rule :  "  Pray 
for  them  which  despitefully  use  you."  Though  he 
was  then  deeply  engaged  in  the  most  solemn  trans- 
action that  ever  passed  between  heaven  and  earth, 
though  he  had  so  much  to  do  with  God  for  himself 
and  his  friends,  yet  he  did  not  forget  to  offer  this 
prayer  for  his  enemies.  The  mercy  he  begged  of 
God  for  them  was  the  greatest  mercy,  (that  which 
he  was  then  dying  to  purchase  and  procure,)  the 
pardon  of  their  sins ;  not  only,  Father,  spare  them, 
or  reprieve  them,  but,  Father,  forgive  them ;  the  ex- 
cuse he  pleaded  for  them  was  the  best  their  crime 
was  capable  of:  "  They  know  not  what  they  do." 
Now  in  all  these  things  our  Master  has  left  us  an 
example.  What  is  the  practice  of  religion  ftut  the 
imitation  of  God  endeavored  by  us  ?  And  what  the 
principle  of  it,  but  the  image  of  God  renewed  in  us  ? 
We  are  bid  to  be  followers  of  God,  as  dear  children. 
But  this  sets  the  copy  we  are  to  write  after  at  a 
mighty  distance,  for  God  is  in  heaven,  and  we  are 
upon  earth ;  and  therefore  in  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ, 
God  incarnate,  God  in  our  nature,  the  copy  is  brought 
among  us,  and  the  transcribing  of  it  in  some  mea- 
sure appears  more  practicable.  "  He  that  hath  seen 
me,"  savs  Christ,  "hath  seen  the  Father  ;"  and  so 
he  that  imitates  Christ,  imitates  the  Father.  The  re- 
ligion which  our  Lord  Jesus  came  into  the  world 
to  establish,  being  every  way  so  well  calculated  for 


the  peace  and  order  of  the  world,  and  being  desig^ned 
to  recover  the  lapsed  souls  of  men  from  their  dege- 
nerate state,  and  to  sweeten  their  spirits  and  temper, 
and  so  to  befriend  human  society,  and  to  make  it 
some  way  conformable  to  the  blessed  society  above ; 
he  not  only  gave  such  precepts  as  were  wonderfully 
fitted  to  this  great  end,  but  recommended  them  to  the 
world  by  the  loveliness  and  amiablenessofhis  own 
example.  Are  we  not  called  Christians  from  Christ, 
whom  we  call  Master  and  Lord,  and  shall  we  not 
endeavor  to  accommodate  ourselves  to  him  ?  We  prot 
fess  to  rejoice  in  him  as  our  forerunner,  and  shall 
we  not  run  after  him  ?  To  what  purpose  were  we 
listed  under  his  banner,  but  that  we  might  follow 
him  as  our  leader  ?  We  have  all  of  us  reason  to  say 
that  Jesus  Christ  is  very  meek,  or  else  we  that  have 
provoked  him  so  much  and  so  often  had  been  in 
hell  long  ago ;  we  owe  it  to  his  meekness,  to  whom 
all  judgment  is  committed,  that  we  have  not  ere  this 
been  carried  away  with  a  swdft  destruction,  and  dealt 
with  according  to  the  desert  of  our  sins,  which,  if 
duly  considered,  one  would  think  should  tend  great- 
ly to  soften  us.  The  apostle  draws  an  argument  from 
that  kindness  and  love  to  us  which  we  ourselves 
have  experienced,  who  were  foolish  and  disobedient, 
to  persuade  us  to  be  "  gentle,  showing  all  meekness ;'' 
and  he  beseeches  the  Corinthians  "  by  the  meek- 
ness and  gentleness  of  Christ,"  as  a  thing  very  win- 
ning, and  of  dear  and  precious  account.     Let  "  the 

118  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

same  mind"  therefore  be  in  us,  not  only  which  was, 
but  which,  as  we  find  to  our  comfort,  still  is  in 
Christ  Jesus.  That  we  may  not  forfeit  our  interest 
in  his  meekness,  let  us  tread  in  the  steps  of  it;  and 
as  ever  we  hope  to  be  like  him  in  glory  hereafter, 
let  us  study  to  be  like  him  in  grace,  in  this  grace 
now.  It  is  a  certain  rule,  by  which  we  must  all  be 
tried  shortly,  that  "if  any  man  hath  not  the  Spirit 
of  Christ,"  (that  is,  if  his  spirit  be  not  in  some  mea- 
sure like  Christ's,)  "  he  is  none  of  his."  Rom.  8  :  9. 
And  if  we  be  not  owned  as  his,  we  are  undone  for 



The  rule  is  general ;  Ave  must  show  "  all  meek- 
ness ;"  but  it  will  be  of  use  to  observe  some  special 
cases  to  which  the  Scripture  applies  this  rule. 

1.  We  must  give  reproofs  with  meekness.  It  is 
the  apostle's  direction,  "  If  a  man  be  overtaken  in  a 
fault,"  (that  is,  if  he  be  surprised  by  a  temptation 
and  overcome,  as  the  best  may  be,  if  God  leave  them 
to  themselves,)  "  ye  which  are  spiritual,  restore  such 


a  one  in  the  spirit  of  meekness."  By  the  spiritual 
man,  to  whom  he  gives  this  rule,  he  means  not  mi- 
nisters only  5  doubtless  it  is  a  rule  to  private  Chris- 
tians; all  that  have  opportunity  must  reprove,  and 
all  that  reprove  must  do  it  with  meekness.  Ye 
that  are  spiritual,  if  you  would  approve  yourselves 
so  indeed,  actuated  by  the  Holy  Spirit,  and  minding 
the  things  of  the  Spirit,  be  careful  in  this  matter. 
Especially  let  those  that  are  Christians  of  the  high- 
est form,  that  excel  in  grace,  and  holiness,  and  the 
best  gifts,  (such  are  called  spiritual  in  distinction 
from  babes  in  Christ,  1  Cor.  3  :  1,)  let  them  look 
upon  themselves  as  obliged,  in  a  more  peculiar 
manner,  to  help  others ;  for  where  God  gives  five 
talents,  he  expects  the  improvement  of  five ;  the 
strong  must  bear  the  infirmities  of  the  weak.  The 
setting  of  a  dislocated  joint  or  a  broken  bone  is,  for 
the  present,  painful  to  the  patient ;  but  it  must  be 
done,  and  it  is  in  order  to  the  making  of  broken 
bones  to  rejoice.  Now  this  you  must  do  with  the 
spirit  of  meekness,  with  all  the  candor,  and  gentle- 
ness, and  convincing  evidences  of  love  and  kindness 
that  can  be.  The  three  qualifications  of  a  good  sur- 
geon are  very  requisite  in  a  reprover,  namely,  to 
have  an  eagle's  eye,  a  lion's  heart,  and  a  lady's 
hand  ;  that  is,  to  be  endued  with  a  great  deal  of  wis- 
dom, and  courage,  and  meekness.  Though  some- 
times it  is  needful  to  reprove  with  warmth,  yet 
we  must  never  reprove  with  wrath,  "  for  the  wrath 

120  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

of  man  vvorketh  not  the  righteousness  of  God." 
There  is  an  observable  difference,  but  no  contra- 
diction betwixt  the  directions  Paul  gives  to  Timo- 
thy, and  those  he  gives  to  Titus  in  this  matter.  To 
Titus  he  writes  to  •'  reprove  sharply,"  and  to  "  re- 
buke with  all  authority."  To  Timothy  he  writes 
"  not  to  strive,  but  to  be  gentle ;"  to  reprove  •'  with 
all  long-suffering."  The  reason  of  this  difference 
may  be  found  in  the  different  temper  of  those  they 
had  to  deal  with.  Timothy  was  among  the  Ephe- 
sians,  a  tractable,  complaisant  people,  that  would  be 
easily  managed,  and  with  them  he  must  always  deal 
gently.  Titus  was  among  the  Cretians,  that  were 
headstrong,  and  not  to  be  wTought  upon  but  by 
sharper  methods.  Thus,  in  reproving,  a  difference 
must  be  made :  of  some  we  must  "  have  compassion, 
and  others  save  with  fear,"  but  never  with  anger, 
"  pulling  them  out  of  the  fire."  Or,  the  reason  of 
the  different  instructions  they  received  may  be 
found  (as  Gregory,  one  of  the  ancients,  assigns  it) 
in  the  different  temper  of  Timothy  and  Titus.  "  Ti- 
tus was  a  man  of  a  very  soft  and  mild  temper,  and 
he  had  need  of  a  spur  to  quicken  him  to  a  needful 
acrimony  in  his  reproofs  ;  but  Timothy  was  a  man 
of  a  more  warm  and  sanguine  temper,  and  he  had 
need  of  a  bridle  to  keep  him  from  an  intemperate 
heat  in  his  reproofs  ;"  and  then  it  teaches  us,  that 
those  who  are  naturally  keen  and  fervent  should 
double  their  guard    upon  their  own  spirits  when 


they  are  reproving,  that  they  may  do  it  with  all 

Christ's  ministers  must  be  careful,  while  they 
display  God's  wrath,  to  conceal  their  own  ;  and  be 
very  jealous  over  themselves,  lest  sinful  anger  shel- 
ter itself  under  the  cloak  of  zeal  against  sin.  When 
reproving  (whoever  be  the  reprover)  degenerates 
into  railing,  and  reviling,  and  opprobrious  language, 
how  can  we  expect  the  desired  success  ?  It  may  pro- 
voke to  contention  and  every  evil  work,  but  it  will 
never  provoke  to  love  and  to  good  Avorks.  The 
work  of  heaven  is  not  likely  to  be  done  by  a  tongue 
set  on  fire  of  hell.  Has  Christ  need  of  mad  men  ? 
or  will  you  talk  deceitfully  and  passionately  for  him? 
A  potion  given  too  hot,  scalds  the  patient,  and  does 
more  hurt  than  good  ;  and  so  many  a  reproof,  good 
for  the  matter  of  it,  has  been  spoiled  by  an  irregular 
management.  Meekness  hides  the  lancet,  orijds  the 
pill,  and  makes  it  passable ;  dips  the  nail  in  oil,  and 
then  it  drives  the  better.  Twice  w^e  find  Jonathan 
reproving  his  father  for  his  rage  against  David; 
once  he  did  it  with  meekness,  "  Let  not  the  king  sin 
against  his  servant;"  (against  David  ;)  and  it  is  said, 
*'  Saul  hearkened  to  him."  But  another  time  his 
spirit  was  provoked,  ♦'  Wherefore  shall  he  be  slain  ?" 
and  the  issue  of  it  was  ill.  Saul  was  not  only  impa- 
tient of  the  reproof,  but  enraged  at  the  reprover,  and 
cast  a  javelin  at  him.  Reproofs  are  likely  to  an- 
swer the  intention  when  they  manifestly  evidence 

H.    M.  11 

122  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

the  good  will  of  the  reprover,  and  are  made  up  of 
soft  words  and  hard  arguments :  this  is  to  "  re- 
store with  the  spirit  of  meekness,"  and  there  is  a 
good  reason  added,  "  considering  thyself;"  he  may 
fall  to^lay,  I  may  to-morrow.  Those  who  think 
they  stand  fast,  know  not  how  soon  they  may  be 
shaken  and  overthrown,  and  therefore  we  must  treat 
those  that  are  overtaken  in  a  fault,  with  the  same 
tenderness  and  compassion  that  we  would  wish  to 
find  if  it  were  our  own  case. 

2.  We  must  receive  reproofs  with  meekness.  If 
we  do  that  which  deserves  rebuke,  and  meet  with 
those  that  are  so  just  and  kind  as  to  give  it  us,  we 
must  be  quiet  under  it,  not  quarreling  with  the  re- 
prover, nor  objecting  to  the  reproof,  nor  fretting  that 
we  are  touched  in  a  sore  place ;  but  submitting  to  it, 
and  laying  our  souls  under  the  conviction  of  it.  If 
reproofs  be  physic,  it  becomes  us  to  be  patient.  '*  Let 
the  righteous  smite  me,  it  shall  be  a  kindness,"  and 
an  excellent  oil,  healing  to  the  wounds  of  sin,  and 
making  the  face  to  shine ;  and  let  us  never  reckon  that 
it  breaks  the  head,  if  it  do  but  help  to  break  the  heart. 
Meekness  suffers  the  word  of  admonition,  and  takes 
it  patiently  and  thankfully,  not  only  from  the  hand 
of  God  that  sends  it,  but  from  the  hand  of  our  friend 
that  brings  it.  We  must  not  be  like  the  reprobate 
Sodomites,  or  that  pert  Hebrew,  Exod.  2:14,  that 
flew  in  the  face  of  their  reprovers  (though  really 
they  were  the  best  friends  they  had)  with  *•  Who 


made  thee  a  judge?"  but  like  David,  who,  when 
Abigail  so  prudently  scotched  the  wheels  of  his  pas- 
sion, not  only  blest  God  that  sent  her,  and  blest  her 
advice,  but  blest  her:  not  only  hearkened  to  her 
voice,  but  accepted  her  person.  Though,  perhaps, 
the  reprover  supposes  the  fault  greater  than  really 
it  was,  and  though  the  reproof  be  not  given  with  all 
the  prudence  in  the  world ;  yet  meekness  will  teach 
us  to  accept  it  quietly,  and  to  make  the  best  use  we 
can  of  it.  Nay,  if  indeed  we  be  altogether  innocent 
of  that  for  which  we  are  reproved,  yet  the  meekness 
of  wisdom  would  teach  us  to  apply  the  reproof  to 
some  other  fault  of  which  our  own  consciences  con- 
vict us :  we  would  not  quarrel  with  a  real  intended 
kindness,  though  not  done  with  ceremony,  and 
though  in  some  circumstances  mistaken  or  mis- 

You  that  are  in  inferior  relations — children,  ser- 
vants, scholars,  must,  with  all  meekness  and  submis- 
sion, receive  the  reproofs  of  your  parents,  masters, 
and  teachers ;  their  age  supposes  them  to  have  more 
understanding  than  you,  and  their  place  gives  them 
an  authority  over  you  to  which  you  are  to  pay  a 
deference,  and  in  which  you  are  to  acquiesce,  else 
farewell  all  order  and  peace.  The  angel  rebuked 
Hagar  for  flying  from  her  mistress,  though  she  dealt 
hardly  with  her,  and  obliged  her  to  return  and  sub- 
mit herself  under  her  hands.  *'  If  the  spirit  of  a 
ruler  rise  up  against  thee,"  and  thou  be  chidden  for 

124  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

a  fault,  "  leave  not  thy  place,"  as  an  inferior,  for 
"  yielding  pacifieth  great  oifences."  "  If  thou  hast 
thought  evil,  lay  thy  hand  upon  thy  mouth  "  to  keep 
that  evil  thought  from  breaking  out  in  any  undue 
and  unbecoming  language.  Reproofs  are  like'ly  to 
do  us  good  when  we  meekly  submit  to  them ;  they 
are  "  as  an  ear-ring  of  gold,  and  an  ornament  of  fine 
gold,"  when  **  an  obedient  ear  "  is  given  to  a  wise 
reprover.  Nay,  even  superiors  are  to  receive  re- 
proofs from  their  inferiors  with  meekness,  as  they 
would  any  other  token  of  kindness  and  good  will. 
Naaman,  who  turned  away  from  the  prophet  in  a 
rage,  yet  hearkened  to  the  reproof  his  own  servants 
gave  him,  and  was  overruled  by  the  reason  of  it ; 
which  was  no  more  a  disparagement  to  him  than  it 
was  to  receive  instruction  from  his  wife's  maid  to 
whom  to  go  for  a  cure  of  his  leprosy.  Meekness 
teaches  us,  when  a  just  reproof  is  given,  to  regard  " 
not  so  much  who  speaks,  as  what  is  spoken. 

3.  We  must  instruct  gainsayers  with  meekness ; 
2  Tim.  2  :  24,  25.  It  is  prescribed  to  ministers  that 
they  "  must  not  strive,  but  be  gentle  to  all  men,"  in 
meekness  instructing  those  that  oppose  themselves. 
They  serve  the  Prince  of  Peace ;  they  preach  the 
Gospel  of  peace ;  they  are  the  ambassadors  of  peace; 
and  therefore  must  be  sure  to  keep  the  peace.  The 
apostles,  those  prime  ministers  of  state  in  Christ's 
kingdom,  were  not  military  men,  or  men  of  strife 
and  noise,  but  fishermen  that  followed  their  employ- 


ment  with  quietness  and  silence.  It  is  highly  ne- 
cessary that  the  guides  of  the  church  be  strict  gov- 
ernors of  their  own  passions.  "  Learn  of  me,"  says 
Christ,  "  for  I  am  meek  and  lowly,"  and  therefore 
fit  to  teach  you.  We  must  "  contend  earnestly,"  but 
not  angrily  and  passionately — no,  not  for  "  the  faith 
once  delivered  to  the  saints."  When  we  have  ever 
so  great  an  assurance  that  it  is  the  cause  of  truth  we  ' 
are  pleading,  yet  wo  must  so  manage  our  defence 
against  those  who  gainsay,  as  to  make  it  appear  that 
it  is  not  the  confusion  of  the  erroneous,  but  the  con- 
futation of  the  error  that  we  intend.  This  meekness 
would  teach  us  not  to  prejudge  a  cause,  nor  to  con- 
demn an  adversary  unheard,  but  calmly  to  state  mat- 
ters in  difference,  as  knowing  that  a  truth  well  open- 
ed is  half  confirmed.  It  would  teach  us  not  to  ag- 
gravate matters  in  dispute,  nor  to  father  upon  an  ad- 
versary all  the  absurd  consequences  which  we  think 
may  be  inferred  from  his  opinion  :  it  would  teach 
us  to  judge  charitably  of  those  that  difl!er  from  us, 
and  to  forbear  all  personal  reflections  in  arguing 
with  them.  God's  cause  needs  not  the  patronage  of 
our  sinful  passions,  which  often  give  a  mighty  shock 
even  to  the  truth  for  which  we  plead.  Meekness 
would  prevent  and  cure  that  bigotry  which  has  been 
so  long  the  bane  of  the  church,  and  contribute  a  great 
deal  towards  the  advancement  of  that  happy  state  in 
which,  notwithstanding  little  diflferences  of  appre- 
hension and  opinion,  the  Lord  shall  be  one,  and  his 

126  HENRY    ON    MEEKNiSSS. 

name  one.  Public  reformations  are  carried  on  with 
most  credit  and  comfort,  and  are  most  likely  to  settle 
on  lasting  fomidations,  when  meekness  sits  at  the 
stern  and  guides  the  motions  of  them.  When  Christ 
was  purging  the  temple,  though  he  was  therein  ac- 
tuated by  a  zeal  for  God's  hou-se  that  even  ate  him  up. 
yet  he  did  it  with  meekness  and  prudence,  which  ap- 
peared in  this  instance,  that  w.hen  he  drove  out  th»^ 
sheep  and  oxen,  which  would  easily  be  caught  again, 
he  said  to  them  that  sold  doves,  "  Take  these  thing.^ 
hence."  He  did  not  let  loose  the  doves  and  send 
them  flying,  for  that  would  have  been  to  the  loss  and 
prejudice  of  the  owners.  Angry,  noisy,  bitter  ar- 
guings  ill  become  the  assertors  of  that  truth  which 
is  great  and  will  prevail.  Our  Lord  Jesus  lived  in 
a  very  froward  and  perverse  generation,  yet  it  is 
said,  "  He  shall  not  strive  nor  cry,  neither  shall  any 
man  hear  his  voice  in  the  street."  Though  he  could 
break  them  as  easily  as  a  bruised  reed,  and  exlin- 
guish  them  as  soon  as  one  could  quench  the  wick  of  a 
candle  newly  lighted,  yet  he  will  not  do  it  till  the  day 
comes  when  "he  shall  bring  forth  judgment  unto 
victory."  Moses  dealt  with  a  very  obstinate  and  stifT- 
necked  people,  and  yet  "  My  doctrine,"  says  he, 
"  shall  drop  as  the  rain,  my  speech  distil  as  the  dewy. 
It  was  not  the  wind,  nor  the  earthquake,  nor  the  fire, 
that  brought  Elijah  into  temper,  (for  the  Lord  was 
not  in  them,)  but  "  the  still  small  voice ;"  when  he 
heard  that,  he  wrapt  his  face  in  his  mantle.  In  deal- 


ing  with  gainsayers,  a  spirit  of  meekness  will  teach 
us  to  consider  their  temper,  education,  custom,  the 
power  of  prejudice  they  labor  under,  the  influence 
of  others  upon  them,  and  to  make  allowances  ac- 
cordingly, and  not  to  call  (as  passionate  contenders 
are  apt  to  do)  every  false  step  an  apostacy ;  every 
error  and  mistake,  nay,  every  misconstrued,  mispla- 
ced word,  a  heresy ;  and  every  misdemeanor,  no  less 
than  treason  and  rebellion ;  methods  of  proceeding 
more  likely  to  irritate  and  harden,  than  to  convince 
and  reduce  gainsayers.  I  have  heard  it  observed 
long  since,  "  that  the  scourge  of  the  tongue  has  dri- 
ven many  out  of  the  temple,  but  never  drove  any 
into  it." 

4.  We  must  make  profession  of  the  hope  that  is 
in  us  with  meekness.  "  Be  ready  always  to  give  an 
answer,"  (to  make  your  defence  or  apology,  so  the 
word  is,)  whether  judicially  or  extra-judicially,  as 
there  is  occasion,  "  to  every  man  that  (soberly,  not 
scoffingly  and  in  derision)  asks  you  a  reason  of  the 
hope  that  is  in  you,"  that  is,  of  the  hope  you  profess, 
which  you  hope  to  be  saved  by,  "  with  meekness  and 
fear."  Observe,  it  is  very  well  consistent  with  Chris- 
tian quietness  to  appear  in  the  defence  of  truth,  and 
to  avow  our  Christian  profession  when  at  any  time 
we  are  duly  called  to  it.  That  is  not  meekness,  but 
base  cowardice,  that  tamely  betrays  and  delivers  up 
any  of  Christ's  tru-ths  or  institutions  by  silence,  as 
if  we  were  ashamed  or  afraid  to  confess  our  Master. 

128  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

But  the  office  of  meekness  at  such  a  time  is  to  direct 
us  how  and  in  what  manner  to  bear  our  testimony, 
not  with  pride  and  passion,  but  with  humility  and 
mildness.  Those  that  would  successfully  confess 
the  truth,  must  first  learn  to  deny  themselves ;  and 
we  must  give  an  account  of  our  hope  with  a  holy 
fear  of  missing  it  in  such  a  critical  juncture.  When 
Ave  give  a  reason  for  our  religion,  we  must  not  boast 
of  ourselves,  or  of  our  own  attainments,  nor  reflect 
contempt  and  wrath  upon  our  persecutors,  but  re- 
member that  "  the  present  truth,"  (so  it  is  called,  2 
Pet.  1  :  12j)  the  truth  which  is  now  to  be  asserted,  is 
the  same  with  the  word  of  Christ's  patience ;  Rev.  3  : 
10 ;  that  is,  the  word  which  must  be  patiently  sufl^ered 
for,  according  to  the  example  of  Him,who,  with  invin- 
cible meekness,  (before  Pontius  Pilate,)  "witnessed  a 
good  confession."  A  great  abasement  and  diffidence 
of  ourselves  may  very  well  consist  with  a  firm  assur- 
ance of  the  truth,  and  a  profound  veneration  for  it. 
In  lesser  things,  wherein  wise  and  good  men  are 
not  all  of  a  mind,  meekness  teaches  us  not  to  be  too 
confident  that  we  are  in  the  right,  nor  to  censure 
and  condemn  those  that  differ  from  us,  as  if  we  were 
the  people,  and  wisdom  should  die  with  us ;  but 
quietly  to  walk  according  to  the  light  that  God  has 
given  us,  and  charitably  to  believe  that  others  do  so 
too,  waiting  till  God  shall  reveal  either  this  to  them, 
Phil.  3  :  15,  or  that  to  us.  Let  it  in  such  cases  suf- 
fice to  vindicate  ourselves,  which  every  man  has  a 


right  to  do,  without  a  magisterial  sentencing  of 
others.  Why  should  we  be  many  masters,  when  we 
are  all  offenders,  James,  3  :  1,2,  and  the  bar  is  our 
place,  not  the  bench  7  Meekness  will  likewise  teach 
lis  to  manage  a  singular  opinion,  wherein  we  differ 
from  others,  with  all  possible  deference  to  them  and 
suspicion  of  ourselves,  not  resenting  it  as  an  affront 
to  be  contradicted,  but  taking  it  as  a  kindness  to  be 
better  informed.  Nor  must  we  be  angry  that  our 
hope  is  inquired  into  :  even  such  a  trial  of  it,  if  we 
approve  ourselves  well  in  it,  may  be  found  to  praise, 
and  honor,  and  glory;  to  which  our  meekness  will 
very  much  contribute,  as  it  puts  a  lustre  upon,  and 
a  convincing  power  into  the  testimony  we  bear.  We 
then  "walk  worthy  of  the  vocation  wherewith  we 
are  called,"  when  wc  walk  "  in  all  lowliness  and 

5.  We  must  bear  reproaches  with  meekness.  Re- 
proach is  a  branch  of  that  persecution  which  all  that 
will  live  godly  in  Christ  Jesus  must  expect :  and  we 
must  submit  to  it,  behaving  ourselves  quietly  and 
with  a  due  decorum,  not  only  when  "  princes  sit  and 
speak  against  us,"  but  even  when  "the  abjects  gather 
themselves  together  against  us,"  and  we  become 
"the  song  of  the  drunkard."  Sometimes  we  find  it 
easier  to  keep  calm  in  a  solemn  and  expected  en- 
gagement, than  in  a  sudden  skirmish  or  a  hasty  ren- 
counter ;  and  therefore,  even  against  those  slight  at- 
tacks, it  is  requisite  that  meekness  be  set  upon  the 

130  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

guard.  If  we  be  slandered,  and  have  all  manner  of 
evil  said  against  us  falsely,  our  rule  is,  not  to  be 
disturbed  at  it,  not  to  render  "  railing  for  railing ;"  but 
though  we  may,  as  we  have  opportunity,  with  meek- 
ness deny  the  charge,  as  Hannah  did,  when  Eli 
overhastily  censured  her  as  drunken — "  No,  my 
Lord,  I  have  drunk  neither  wine  nor  strong  drink ;" 
yet,  when  that  is  done,  we  must,  without  meditating 
any  revenge,  quietly  commit  our  cause  tq  God,  who 
will,  sooner  or  later,  clear  up  our  innocency  as  the 
light,  which  is  promised.  Psalm  37  :  5,  6 ;  and  there- 
fore "  fret  not  thyself,"  but  wait  patiently ;  "  cease 
from  anger,  and  forsake  wrath."  Mr.  Dod  w^as 
wont  to  charm  his  friends  into  silence  under  re- 
proaches with  this,  "that  if  a  dog  bark  at  a  sheep, 
the  sheep  will  not  bark  at  the  dog  again."  We  do 
but  gratify  our  great  adversary,  and  do  his  work  for 
him,  when  we  suffer  the  peace  and  serenity  of  our 
minds  to  be  broken  in  upon  by  the  reproaches  of  the 
world.  For  me  to  disquiet  myself,  and  put  myself 
into  a  passion,  because  another  abuses  me,  is  as  if  I 
should  scratch  up  the  skin  of  my  face  to  fetch  off 
the  dirt  which  my  adversary  throws  on  it.  When 
reproaches  provoke  our  passions,  which  excite  us  to 
render  bitterness  for  bitterness,  we  thereby  lose  the 
comfort  and  forfeit  the  honor  and  reward  which  the 
divine  promise  has  annexed  to  the  reproach  of  Christ ; 
and  shall  we  suffer  so  many  things  in  vain  ?  We 
likewise  thereby  give  occasion  to  those  who  had  spo- 


ken  evil  of  us  falsely,  to  speak  evil  of  us  truly ;  and 
perhaps  our  religion  suffers  more  by  our  impatience 
under  the  reproach,  than  by  the  reproach  itself.  For 
what  have  we  the  law,  and  pattern,  and  promise  of 
Christ,  but  to  calm  our  spirits  under  reproaches  for 
welUdoing  ?  Truly,  those  can  bear  but  a  little  for 
Christ,  who  cannot  bear  a  hard  or  an  unkind  word 
for  him.  If  we  either  faint  or  fret  in  such  a  day  of 
adversity,  it  is  a  sign  our  strength  is  small  indeed. 
May  it  not  satisfy  us,  that  by  our  meekness  and 
quietness  under  reproaches  we  engage  God  for  us, 
who  has  promised  that  he  will  "  with  righteousness 
judge  the  poor,"  the  poor  in  spirit,  and  will  "  reprove 
with  equity  for  the  meek  of  the  earth."  He  that  has 
bid  us  to  "  open  our  mouth  for  the  dumb,"  will  not 
himself  be  silent.  And  shall  we  not  learn  at  last, 
instead  of  fretting  and  being  exceeding  angry,  to  re- 
joice and  be  exceeding  glad,  when  •*  we  suffer  this 
for  righteousness'  sake  ?"  May  we  not  put  such  re- 
proaches as  pearls  in  our  crown,  and  be  assured  that 
they  will  pass  well  in  the  account  another  day,  when 
there  will  be  an  advantageous  resurrection  of  names 
as  well  as  bodies,  in  the  prospect  of  which  we  have 
reason  to  "  rejoice  that  we  are  counted  worthy  to 
suffer  shame  for  his  name ;"  that  we  are  honored  to 
be  dishonored  for  Him,  who  for  our  sakes  endured 
the  cross  and  despised  the  shame.  It  is  one  of  the 
laws  of  meekness,  to  despise  being  despise<i. 

132  HENRY    ON    MEfiKNESft, 



In  order  to  the  well-governing  of  the  soul,  the 
judgment  must  be  furnished  with  proper  dictates, 
else  it  will  never  be  able  to  keep  peace  in  the  affec- 
tions ;  the  emotions  of  the  soul  are  then  likely  to  be 
even,  and  regular,  and  constant,  when  we  have  fixed 
to  ourselves  good  principles  by  which  we  are  gov- 
erned, and  under  the  influence  of  which  we  act.  We 
shall  select  a  few  truths,  out  of  many  which  might 
be  mentioned,  proper  for  use  as  there  is  occasion. 

I.  He  has  the  sweetest  and  surest  peace,  who  is 
the  most  master  of  his  own  passions.  The  comfort 
that  a  man  has  in  governing  himself,  is  much  great- 
er than  he  could  have  in  having  people  to  serve  him, 
and  nations  to  bow  down  to  him.  It  is  certain,  the 
worst  enemies  we  have,  if  ever  they  break  loose  and 
get  head,  are  in  our  own  bosoms.  Enemies  with- 
out threaten  only  the  evil  of  pain ;  they  can  but  kill 
the  body,  and  no  great  hurt  in  that  to  a  child  of  God, 
if  they  do  not  provoke  the  enemies  within,  our  own 
irregular  passions,  which,  if  they  be  not  kept  under, 
plunge  us  in  the  evil  of  sin.  An  invasion  from 
abroad  does  not  so  much  disturb  the  peace  of  a  king- 
dom as  an  insurrection  at  home ;  and  therefore  it 
concerns  us  to  double  our  guard  where  our  danger 


is  greatest ;  and  above  all  keepings,  to  keep  our 
hearts,  that  no  passion  be  allowed  to  stir,  without  a 
good  reason  to  be  given  for  it,  and  a  good  use  to  be 
made  of  it ;  and  then  if  we  be  troubled  on  every  side, 
yet  not  distressed ;  perplexed,  yet  not  in  despair;  2 
Cor.  4  :  8,  9 ;  offended  by  our  fellow-servants,  but 
not  offending  our  Master  ;  reproached  by  our  neigh- 
bors, but  not  by  our  own  consciences ;  this  is  like 
Zion's  peace,  peace  within  the  walls.  We  have  need 
to  pray  as  one  did — Lord,  deliver  me  from  that  ill 
man,  mine  own  self,  and  then  I  am  safe  enough. 
The  lusts  that  "  war  in  our  members,"  are  the  ene- 
mies that  "  war  against  the  soul."  If  tbis  war  be 
brought  to  a  good  issue,  and  those  enemies  suppress- 
ed, whatever  other  disturbances  are  given,  peace  is 
in  the  soul,  with  grace  and  mercy  from  God,  and 
from  the  Lord  Jesus.  Nehemiah  was  aware  of  this, 
as  the  design  of  his  enemies,  when  they  hired  a  pre- 
tended prophet  to  give  an  alarm,  and  to  advise  him 
meanly  to  shift  for  himself;  it  was,  says  he,  "that 
I  should  be  afraid  and  do  so,  and  sin."  Whatever 
we  lose,  we  shall  not  lose  our  peace,  if  we  do  but  keep 
our  integrity ;  therefore,  instead  of  being  solicitous  to 
subdue  our  enemies  that  lay  siege  to  us,  let  us  double 
our  watch  against  the  traitors  within  the  garrison, 
from  whom,  especially,  our  danger  is  :  since  we  can- 
not prevent  the  shooting  of  the  fiery  darts,  let  us  have 
our  shield  ready,  wherewith  to  quench  them.  If  we 
would  not  hurt  ourselves,  blessed  be  God,  no  enemy 
H.  M.  12 

134  HENRY   ON    MC£KN£8S« 

in  the  world  can  hurt  us.  Let  us  but  keep  the  peace 
within,  by  the  governing  of  our  own  passions,  and 
then,  whatever  assaults  may  be  made  upon  us,  we 
may  therein,  with  the  daughter  of  Zion,  despise  them, 
and  laugh  them  to  scorn,  and  shake  our  head  at 
them.  Isa.  37  :  22.  Let  us  believe  that  in  times  of 
agitation  and  alarm  our  strength  is  to  sit  still,  in  a 
holy  quietness  and  composure  of  mind :  "  This  is 
the  rest  wherewith  you  may  cause  the  weary  to 
rest ;  and  this  is  the  refreshing  ;"  and  it  is  enough. 

2.  In  many  things  wt  all  offend.  This  truth  we 
have,  Jajn.  3:2,  as  a  reason  why  we  must  not  be 
many  masters.  It  would  help  to  subdue  and  mode- 
rate our  anger  at  the  offences  of  others,  if  Ave  con- 

( L)  That  it  is  incident  to  human  nature  to  offend. 
While  we  are  in  this  world,  we  must  not  expect  to 
converse  with  angels,  or  the  spirits  of  just  men  made 
perfect ;  no,  we  are  obliged  to  have  a  communication 
with  creatures  that  are  foolish  and  corrupt,  peevish 
and  provoking,  and  who  are  all  subject  to  like  pas- 
sions :  such  as  these  we  must  live  among,  else  must 
we  needs  go  out  of  the  world.  And  have  we  not 
reason  then  to  count  upon  something  or  other  un- 
easy and  displeasing  in  all  relations  and  conditions  ? 
The  best  men  have  their  defects  in  this  imperfect 
state;  those  who  are  savingly  enlightened,  yet  know- 
ing but  in  part,  have  their  blind  side  ;  the  harmony, 
even  of  the  communion  of  saints,  will  sometimes  be 


disturbed  with  jarring  strings ;  why  then  should  we 
be  surprised  into  passion  and  disquiet,  when  that 
which  gives  us  the  disturbance  is  no  more  than 
what  we  looked  for  ?  Instead  of  being  angry,  we 
should  think  with  ourselves  thus  :  Alas  !  what  could 
I  expect  but  provocation  from  corrupt  and  fallen 
man  ?  Among  such  foolish  creatures  as  we  are,  it 
must  needs  be  that  offences  will  come,  and  why 
should  not  I  have  my  share  of  them?  The  God  of 
heaven  gives  this  as  a  reason  of  his  patience  towards 
a  provoking  world,  that  it  is  in  their  nature  to  be 
provoking :  "  I.  will  not  again  curse  the  ground  any 
more  for  man's  sake,  for  the  imagination  of  man's 
heart  is  evil  from  his  youth,"  and  therefore  better  is 
not  to  be  expected  from  him.  And  upon  this  account 
he  had  compassion  on  Israel.  Ps.  78  :  39.  "  He  re- 
membered that  they  were  but  flesh  ;"  not  only  frail 
creatures,  but  sinful,  and  bent  to  backslide.  Do  men 
gather  grapes  of  thorns  ?  "  I  knew  that  thou  wouldst 
deal  treacherously,  for  thou  wast  called  a  trans- 
gressor from  the  womb."  And  should  not  we,  much 
more,  be  governed  by  the  same  consideration?  "If 
thou  seest  the  violent  perverting  of  judgment  and 
justice  in  a  province,"  remember  what  a  provoking 
creature  smful  man  is,  and  then  thou  wilt  not  marvel 
at  the  matter.  The  consideration  of  the  common  in- 
firmity and  corruption  of  mankind  should  be  made 
use  of,  not  to  excuse  our  own  faults  to  ourselves, 
which  does  but  take  off  the  edge  of  our  repentance, 

136  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

and  is  the  poor  subterfuge  of  a  deceived  heart ;  but 
to  excuse  the  faults  of  others,  and  so  take  offthe  edge 
of  bur  passion  and  displeasure,  and  preserve  the 
meekness  and  quietness  of  our  own  spirits. 

(2.)  It  is  incident  to  ourselves  among  the  rest  to 
offend.  The  apostle  puts  himself  into  the  number —  1 
We  all  offend.  We  offend  God;  if  we  say  we  do  * 
not,  we  deceive  ourselves ;  and  yet  he  bears  with  us 
from  day  to  day,  and  is  not  extreme  to  mark  what 
we  do  amiss.  Our  debts  to  him  are  talents,  our 
brethren's  to  us  but  pence.  Think  then,  if  God 
should  be  as  angry  with  me  for  every  provocation, 
as  I  am  with  those  about  me,  what  would  become  of 
me  ?  They  are  careless  in  their  observance,  and  per- 
haps willful  in  their  offence,  and  am  not  I  so  to  God  ? 
yea,  am  not  I  a  thousand  times  worse?  Job  said, 
when  his  servants  were  provoking,  and  he  was 
tempted  to  be  harsh  with  them,  "  What  then  shall  I 
do  when  God  riseth  up  ?  and  when  he  visiteth,  what 
shall  1  answer  him  ?" 

And  are  we  not  apt  enough  likewise  to  offend  our 
brethren?  Either  we  have  offended,  or  may  offend; 
so  that  we  have  need  that  others  should  bear  with  us, 
and  why  should  we  not  bear  with  them  ?  Our  rule 
is.  What  we  would  that  men  should  do  to  us  when 
we  offend  them,  the  same  we  should  do  to  them  when 
they  offend  us  ;  for  this  is  the  law  and  the  prophets. 
Matt.  7:  12.  Solomon  appeals  to  our  consciences 
therein  :  "  For  oftentimes  also  thine  own  heart  (which 


is  instead  of  a  thousand  witnesses)  knoweth  that  thou 
thyself  likewise  hast  cursed  others."  The  penitent 
remembrance  of  former  guilt  would  greatly  help  to 
curb  the  passionate  resentment  of  present  trouble. 
When  the  undutiful,  rebellious  son,  (in  a  story  that 
I  once  read,)  dragged  his  father  by  the  hair  of  the 
head  to  the  house  door,  it  appeased  the  anger  of  the 
old  man  to  remember,  that  just  so  far  he  had  dragged 
his  father ;  and  it  seems  to  have  silenced  Adonibe- 
zek,  that  he  was  now  treated  no  otherwise  than  he 
had  treated  others.    Judges,  1  :  7. 

3.  Men  are  God's  hand  :  so  it  is  said,  Ps.  17  :  14  ; 
"  From  men  which  are  thy  hand,  O  Lord  !"  or  rather 
tools  in  thy  hand  ;  which  are  *'  thy  sword."  We 
must  abide  by  this  principle,  that  whatever  it  is  that 
crosses  us,  or  is  displeasing  to  us  at  any  time,  God 
has  an  overruling  hand  in  it.  David  was  governed 
by  this  principle  when  he  bore  Shimei's  spiteful  re- 
proaches with  such  invincible  patience  :  "  So  let  him 
curse,  because  the  Lord  hath  said  unto  him,  Curse 
David."  Let  him  alone,  for  the  Lord  hath  bidden 
him.  This  consideration  will  not  only  silence  our 
murmurings  against  God,  the  author,  but  all  our 
quarrelings  with  men,  the  instruments  of  our  trouble 
and  vexation.  Men's  reproaches  are  God's  rebukes ; 
and  whoever  he  be  who  affronts  me,  I  must  see,  and 
say,  that  therein  my  Father  corrects  me.  This  quiet- 
ed the  spirit  of  Job,  in  reference  to  the  injuries  of  the 
Chaldeans  and  Sabeans,  though  he  dwelt  as  a  king, 

138  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

in  the  army ;  and  his  power  and  interest  seem  to 
have  been  sustained  when  those  intruders  first  mad?e 
that  inroad  upon  him,  and  so  he  could  not  but  see 
his  help  in  the  gate ;  yet  we  find  him  not  meditating 
any  revenge,  but  calming  the  disturbances  of  his  own 
soul  with  the  consideration  of  God's  sovereign  dis- 
posal, overlooking  all  the  instruments  of  his  trouble, 
thoughts  of  which  would  but  have  mingled  anger 
(the  more  disquieting  passion)  with  his  sorrow ;  this, 
therefore,  suffices  to  still  the  storm.  "  The  Lord  gave, 
and  the  Lord  hath  taken  away,  blessed  be  the  name 
of  the  Lord."  When  his  brethren  stood  aloof  from 
him,  his  kindred  and  his  friends  looked  scornfully 
upon  him  as  an  alien ;  and  instead  of  oil,  poured 
vinegar  into  his  wounds,  so  that  his  eye  continued 
in  this  provocation ;  yet  even  in  that  part  of  his 
trouble  he  owns  the  hand  of  God:  ''He  hath  put 
my  brethren  far  from  me."  It  is  a  very  quieting 
truth,  (the  Lord  help  us  to  mix  faith  with  it,}  thai 
every  creature  is  that  to  us,  and  no  more,  that  God 
make^  it  to  be;  and  that  while  many  seek  the  ru 
ler's  favor,  and  more  perhaps  fear  the  ruler's  dis 
pleasure,  every  man's  judgment  proceedeth  from  the 
Lord.  Would  we  but  more  closely  observe,  and 
readily  own  the  hand  of  God  in  that  which  disquiets 
and  provokes  us,  surely,  though  we  regarded  not 
man,  yet  if  we  had  any  fear  of  God  before  our  eyes, 
that  would  reconcile  us  better  to  it,  and  suppress  all 
intemperate  and  undue  resentments.  In  murmuring 


at  the  stone,  we  reflect  upon  the  hand  that  throws 
it  and  lay  ourselves  under  the  wo  pronounced 
against  him  that  strives  with  his  Maker.  We  know 
it  is  interpreted,  a  taking  up  arms  against  the  king, 
if  we  take  up  arms  against  any  that  are  commis- 
sioned by  him. 

4.  There  is  no  provocation  given  us  at  any  time, 
but,  if  it  be  skillfully  and  graciously  improved,  good 
may  be  gotten  by  it.  If  we  have  but  that  wisdom 
of  the  prudent,  which  is  to  understand  his  way,  and 
all  the  advantages  and  opportunities  of  it,  doubtlestj" 
we  may,  quite  contrary  to  the  intention  of  those  who 
trespass  against  us,  gain  some  spiritual,  that  is,  some 
real  benefit  to  our  souls,  by  the  injuries  and  offen- 
ces that  are  done  to  us :  for  even  these  are  made  to 
work  together  for  good  to  them  that  love  God.  This 
is  a  holy  and  a  happy  way  of  opposing  our  adver- 
saries, and  resisting  evil.  It  is  an  ill  weed  indeed 
out  of  which  the  spiritual  bee  cannot  extract  some- 
thing profitable,  and  for  its  purpose.  Whatever  lion 
roars  against  us,  let  us  but  go  on  in  the  strength 
and  spirit  of  the  Lord,  as  Samson  did,  and  we 
may  not  only  rend  it  as  a  kid,  so  that  it  shall  do  us 
QO  real  harm,  but  we  may  withal  get  meat  out  of  the 
cater,  and  sweetness  out  of  the  strong.  As  it  turns 
to  the  unspeakable  prejudice  of  many,  that  they  look 
upon  reproofs  as  reproaches,  and  treat  them  accord- 
ingly with  anger  and  displeasure ;  so  it  would  turn 
to  our  unspeakable  advantage  if  we  could  but  learn 

140  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

to  call  reproaches  reproofs^,  and  make  use  of  them  as 
such  for  our  conviction  and  humiliation — and  thus 
the  reproach  of  Christ  may  become  true  riches  to 
us,  greater  than  the  treasures  of  Egypt. 

We  are  told  of  an  imposthume  that  was  cured 
with  the  thrust  of  an  enemy's  sword ;  and  of  one 
that  was  happily  converted  from  drunkenness  by 
being  called,  in  reproach,  "  a  tippler."  It  is  very 
possible  that  we  may  be  enlightened,  or  humbled, 
or  reformed;  may  be  brought  nearer  to  God,  or 
weaned  from  the  world  ;  may  be  furnished  with  mat- 
ter for  repentance,  or  prayer,  or  praise,  by  the  inju- 
ries that  are  done  us,  and  may  be  much  furthered  in 
our  way  to  heaven  by  that  which  was  intended  for 
an  affront  or  provocation.  This  principle  would  put 
another  aspect  upon  injuries  and  unkindness,  and 
would  quite  change  their  character,  and  teach  us  to 
call  them  by  another  name  ;  whatever  the  subordi- 
nate instrument  intended,  God  designed  it,  as  our 
other  afflictions,  to  yield  the  peaceable  fruit  of  righte- 
ousness ;  so  that,  instead  of  being  angry  at  the  man 
that  meant  us  ill,  we  should  rather  be  thankful  to 
the  God  that  intended  us  good,  and  study  to  answer 
his  intention.  This  kept  Joseph  in  good  temper  to- 
wards his  brethren,  though  he  had  occasion  enough 
to  quarrel  with  them:  "You  thought  evil  against 
me,  but  God  meant  it  unto  goo^."  This  satisfied 
Paul — in  reference  to  the  thorn  in  the  flesh,  that  is, 
the  calamities  and  oppositions  of  the  false  apostles, 


which  touched  hi->n  more  sensibly  than  all  the  efforts 
of  persecuting  rage — that  it  was  intended  to  hide 
pride  from  him,  lest  he  should  be  "  exalted  above 
measure  with  the  abundance  of  revelations ;"  and 
there  seems  to  be  an  instance  of  the  good  effect  it 
iirad  upon  him  immediately  upon  the  mention  of  it, 
for  within  a  few  lines  after  he  lets  fall  that  humble 
word,  "  I  am  nothing."  We  should  be  apt  to  think 
too  highly  of  ourselves,  and  too  kindly  of  the  world, 
if  we  did  not  meet  with  some  injuries  and  contempt, 
by  which  we  are  taught  to  cease  from  man.  Did 
we  but  more  carefully  study  the  improvement  of 
an  injury^  we  should  no;  be  so  apt  to  desire  to  re- 
venge it. 

5.  What  is  said  and  done  in  haste,  is  likely  to  he 
matter  for  deliberate  repentance.  "Vve  find  David 
often  remembering  with  regret  what  he  said  in 
haste,  particularly  one  angry  word  he  had  said  in 
the  day  of  his  distress  and  trouble,  which  seemed  to 
reflect  upon  Samuel,  and  indeed  upon  all  that  had 
given  him  any  encouragement  to  hope  for  the  king- 
dom ;  "  I  said  in  my  haste.  All  men  are  liars ;"  and 
this  hasty  word  was  a  grief  to  him  long  after.  "  He 
that  hasteth  with  his  feet  sinneth."  When  a  man  is 
transported  by  passion  into  any  impropriety,  we 
coriinonly  qualify  it  with  this,  "that  he  is  a  little 
hasty,"  as  if  there  were  no  harm  in  that ;  but  we  see 
there  is  harm  in  it ;  he  that  is  in  haste  may  contract 
much  guilt  in  a  little  thne.    What  we  say  or  do  un- 

142  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

advisedly  when  we  are  hot,  we  must  unsay  or  undo 
again  when  we  are  cool,  or  do  worse.  Now,  who 
would  willfully  do  that  which,  sooner  or  later,  he 
must  repent  of?  A  heathen  that  was  tempted  to 
a  chargeable  sin,  could  resist  the  temptation  with 
this  consideration,  "  that  he  would  not  buy  repent- 
ance so  dear."  Is  repentance  such  a  pleasant  work 
that  we  should  so  industriously  "  treasure  up  unto 
ourselves  wrath  against  the  day  of  Avrath,''  either  the 
day  of  God's  w^rath  against  us,  or  our  own  against 
ourselves  I  You  little  think  what  a  torrent  of  self- 
affliction  you  let  in,  when  you  let  the  reins  loose  to 
an  immoderate  ungoverned  passion.  You  are  angry 
at  others,  and  reproach  them,  and  are  ready  to  abhor 
them,  and  to  revenge  yourselves  upon  them,  and 
your  corrupt  nature  takes  a  strange  kind  of  pleas- 
ure in  this.  But  do  you  know  that  all  this  will  at 
last  rebound  upon  yourselves,  and  return  into  your 
own  bosom  ?  Either  here  or  in  a  worse  place  you 
must  repent  of  all  this ;  that  is,  you  must  turn  all 
these  passions  upon  yourselves  ;  you  must  be  angry 
at  yourselves,  and  reproach  yourselves,  and  call 
yourselves  fools,  and  abhor  yourselves,  and  smite 
upon  your  own  breasts ;  nay,  and  if  God  give  you 
grace,  take  a  holy  revenge  upon  yourselves,  (which 
is  reckoned  among  the  products  of  godly  sorrow,  2 
Cor.  7  :  11;)  and  what  can  be  more  uneasy  than  all 
this  ?  You  take  great  liberty  in  chiding  those  that 
you  have  under  your  power,  and  uttering  perhaps 

ARQt7M£NTS    FOR    MBEKNESS.  143 

cibusive  language,  because  you  know  they  dare  not 
chide  you  again  ;  but  dare  not  your  own  hearts  smite 
you,  and  your  consciences  chide  you  ?  And  is  it  not 
easier  to  bear  the  chidings  of  any  man  in  the  world 
(which  may  either  be  avoided,  or  answered,  or 
slighted)  than  to  bear  the  reproaches  of  our  own 
consciences,  which,  as  we  cannot  avoid  hearing,  so 
we  cannot  trifle  with  ;  for  when  conscience  is  awake, 
it  will  be  heard,  and  will  tell  us  home,  wherein  '*  we 
are  very  guilty  concerning  our  brother."  Let  this 
thought,  therefore,  quiet  our  spirits  when  they  be- 
gin to  be  tumultuous,  that  hereby  we  shall  but  make 
work  for  repentance ;  whereas,  on  the  contrary,  as 
Abigail  suggested  to  David,  the  bearing  and  forgiv- 
ing of  an  injury  will  be  no  trouble  or  grief  of  mind 
afterwards.  Let  wisdom  and  grace  therefore  do  what 
time  will  do ;  that  is,  cool  our  heat,  and  take  off  the 
edge  of  our  resentment. 

6.  That  is  truly  best  for  us  which  is  most  pleas- 
ing and  acc^ptabh  to  God,  and  a  meek  and  quiet 
spirit  is  so.  No  principle  has  such  a  commanding 
influence  upon  the  soul  as  that  which  has  a  regard 
to  God,  and  wherein  we  approve  ourselves  to  him. 
It  was  a  good  hint  which  the  woman  of  Tekoah 
gave  to  David,  when  she  was  suing  for  a  merciful 
sentence:  "  I  pray  thee,  let  the  king  remember  the 
Lord  thy  God  ;"  nor  could  any  thought  be  more  ap- 
peasing than  that.  Remember  how  gracious,  and 
merciful,  and  patient  God  is ;  how  slow  to  anger, 

144  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

how  ready  to  forgiye,  and  how  well  pleased  he  is  to 
see  his  people  like  him:  remember  the  eye  of  thy 
God  upon  thee,  the  love  of  thy  God  towards  thee, 
and  the  glory  of  thy  God  set  before  thee.  Remember 
how  much  it  is  thy  concern  to  be  accepted  of  God, 
and  to  walk  worthy  of  thy  relation  to  him,  unto  all 
well-pleasing ;  and  how  much  meekness  and  quiet- 
ness of  spirit  contributes  to  this,  as  it  is  consonant  to 
that  excellent  religion  which  our  Lord  Jesus  has 
established,  and  as  it  renders  the  heart  a  fit  habita- 
tion for  the  blessed  Spirit :  "  this  is  good  and  accept- 
able in  the  sight  of  God  our  Savior,"  to  lead  a  "  quiet 
and  peaceable  life."  It  is  a  good  evidence  of  our  re- 
conciliation to  God,  if  we  be  cordially  reconciled  to 
every  trying  providence,  which  necessarily  includes 
a  meek  behavior  towards  those  who  are  any  way  in- 
strumental in  it.  Very  excellently  does  St.  Austin  re- 
mark on  Psalm  122  :  Those  please  God  who  are 
pleased  with  him,  and  with  all  he  does,  whether  im- 
mediately by  his  own  hand,  or  mediately  by  the 
agency  of  provoking,  injurious  men.  This  is  stand- 
ing complete  in  all  the  will  of  God,  not  only  his  com- 
manding, but  his  disposing  will,  saying  without  re- 
luctance, The  will  of  the  Lord  be  done.  He  that 
acts  from  an  honest  principle  of  respect  to  God,  and 
sincerely  desires  to  be  accepted  of  him,  cannot  but 
be  in  some  measure  adorned  with  that  meek  and 
quiet  spirit  which  he  knows  to  be  in  the  sight  of 
God  of  great  price. 

RULi:s    OF    DIRECTION.  145 

Such  as  these  are  soilening  principles,  and  as 
many  as  walk  according  to  these  rules,  peace  shall 
be  upon  them,  and  mercy,  and  no  doubt  it  shall  be 
upon  the  Israel  of  God. 



The  laws  of  our  iioly  religion  are  so  fur  from 
clashing  and  interfering,  that  one  Christian  duty 
very  much  furthers  and  promotes  another.  The  fruits 
of  the  Spirit  are  like  links  in  a  chain,  one  draws  on 
another ;  and  it  is  so  in  this  ;  many  other  graces  con- 
tribute to  the  ornament  of  a  meek  and  quiet  spirh. 

You  see  how  desirable  the  attainment  is,  will  you . 
therefore,  through  desire,  separate  your si4ves  to  the 
pursuit  of  it,  and  '*  seek  and  intermeddle  with  all 
wisdom,"  and  all  little  enougii,  that  you  may  roach 
to  the  meekness  of  wisdom. 

I.  Withdraio  your  affections  from  this  worUl^ 
and  every  thing  in  it.  The  more  the  world  is  cru- 
cified to  us,  the  more  our  corrupt  passions  will  be 
crucified  in  us.  If  we  would  keep  calm  and  quiet, 
we  must  by  faith  live  above  the  stormy  region.  It 

146  ilENfeV    UN'    ME1:KNKSS. 

is  certain,  those  that  Have  any  thing  to  do  in  the 
Avorld)  cannot  but  meet  with  that  every  day,  from 
those  Avith  whom  they  deal,  which  will  cross  and 
provoke  them;  and  if  the  affections  be  set  upon 
these  things,  and  we  be  filled  with  a  prevailing 
concern,  about  them  as  the  principal  things,  those 
crosses  must  needs  pierce  to  the  quick  and  inflame 
the  soul,  and  that  which  touches  us  in  these  things, 
touches  us  in  the  apple  of  our  eye.  If  the  appetites 
be  indulged  inordinately  in  things  that  are  pleasing 
to  sense,  the  passions  will  to  the  very  same  degree 
be  roused  against  those  that  are  displeasing.  And 
therefore.  Christians,  whatever  you  have  of  the  world 
in  your  hands,  be  it  more  or  less,  as  you  value  the 
peace  as  well  as  the  purity  of  your  souls,  keep  it  out 
of  your  hearts ;  and  evermore  indulge  your  affections 
towards  your  possessions,  enjoyments,  and  delights 
in  the  world,  with  a  due  consideration  of  the  disap- 
pointment and  provocation  which  they  will  probably 
occasion  you. 

It  is  th^  excellent  advice  of  Epictetus,  whatever 
we  tak^  a  plmsure  in,  to  consider  its  nature,  and  to 
proportion  otir  complacency  accordingly.  Those 
that  idolize  any  thing  in  this  world,  will  be  greatly 
discomposed  if  they  be  crossed  in  it.  "  The  money 
which  Micah's  mother  had,"  says  bishop  Hall,  "  was 
her  god  before  it  had  the  shape  either  of  a  graven 
or  a  moken  image,  else  the  loss  of  it  would  not  have 
set  her  k  cursings  as  iteeem*  it  did."    Those  that  are 

,      ,    ,    .  ..     I??TVB11SITT 

*' greedy  oi  gain,  troTOle  ^leir  own  hearts  as  well 
as  their  own  houses,  ^fc^y  are  a  burden  to  them- 
selves, and  a  terror  to  all  about  them.  **  They  who 
will  be  rich,"  who  are  resolved  upon  it,  come  what 
will,  cannot  but  fall  into  these  "  foolish  and  hurtful 
lusts."  And  those  also  who  serve  their  own  bellies, 
who  are  pleased  with  nothing  unless  it  be  wound  up 
to  the  height  of  pleasure,  who  are  like  the  "  tender 
and  delicate  woman,  that  would  not  set  so  much  as 
the  sole  of  her  foot  to  the  ground  for  tc;nderness  and 
delicacy,"  lie  very  open  to  that  which  is  disquieting, 
and  cannot,  without  ?  great  disturbance  to  them- 
selves, bear  a  disappointment ;  and  therefore  Plu- 
tarch, a  great  moralist,  prescribes  it  for  the  preser- 
vation of  our  meekness,  "  not  to  be  curious  in  diet,  or 
clothes,  or  attendance ;  for,"  says  he,  "  they  who 
need  but  few  things,  are  not  liable  to  anger,  if  they 
be  disappointed  of  many." 

Would  we  but  learn  in  these  things  to  cross  our- 
selves, we  should  not  be  so  apt  to  take  it  unkind  if 
another  crosses  us.  And  therefore  the  method  of 
the  lessons  in  Christ's  school  is,  first  to  '*  deny  our- 
selves," and  then  to  "take  up  our  cross."  We  must 
also  mortify  the  desire  of  the  applause  of  men,  as  al- 
together inconsistent  with  our  true  happiness.  If 
we  have  learnt  not  to  value  ourselves  by  their  good 
word,  we  shall  not  much  disturb  ourselves  for  their 
ill  word.  St.  Paul  bore  reproaches  with  mucli 
meekness,  because  he  did  not  build  upon  the  opi- 

118  HKXRV    ON    MEEKNESS. 

riiori  of  man,  reckoninof  it  *'  a  small  thing  to  be  judg- 
ed of  man's  judgment." 

2.  Be  often  repenting  of  v our  sinful  passio?is,  and 
reiuicrng  yovr  corcnanh  against  it.  If  our  rash 
anger  were  more  bitter  to  ns  in  the  reflection  after- 
wards, we  .^should  not  be  so  apt  to  relapse  into  it. 
Repentance  in  general,  if  it  be  sound  and  deep,  and 
grounded  in  true  contrition  and  humiliation,  dis- 
])oses  the  soul  to  bear  injuries  Avith  abundance  oi 
patience.  Those  who  live  a  life  of  repentance  (as 
we  have  every  one  of  us  reason  to  do)  cannot  but 
live  a  quiet  life,  for  nobody  can  lightly  say  worse 
of  the  true  penitent  than  he  says  of  himself  Call 
him  a  fool,  (an  affront  which  many  think  deserve: 
a  challenge,)  the  humble  soul  can  bear  it  patiently 
•with  this  thought,  "  Yea,  a  fool  I  am,"  and  I  have 
called  myself  so  many  a  time ;  "  more  brutish  than 
any  man ;  I  have  not  the  understanding  of  a  man." 
But  repentance  in  a  special  manner  disposes  us  to 
meekness,  when  it  fastens  upon  any  irregular  inor- 
dinate passion  with  which  we  have  been  transport- 
ed. Godly  sorrow  for  our  former  transgressions  in 
this  matter,  will  work  a  carefulness  in  us  not  again 
to  transgress.  If  others  be  causelessly  or  excessive- 
ly angry  with  me,  am  not  I  justly  requited  for  the 
like  or  more  indecent  passions  ?  Charge  it  home, 
therefore,  with  sorrow  and  shame  upon  your  con- 
sciences, aggravating  the  sin,  and  lajnng  a  load  upon 
yourselves  for  it,  and  you  will  find  that  "  the  burnt 


child,"  especially  while  the  burn  is  smarting,  •'  will 
dread  the  fire."  See  Job,  42  :  6. 

With  our  repentance  for  our  former  unquietness, 
we  must  engage  ourselves  by  a  firm  resolution,  in 
the  strength  of  the  grace  of  Jesus  Christ,  to  be  more 
mild  and  gentle  for  the  future.  Say  you  will  "  take 
heed  to  your  ways,"  that  you  offend  not,  as  you 
have  done,  "  with  your  tongue  ;"  and,  like  David,  be 
often  remembering  that  you  said  so.  Resolution 
would  do  much  towards  the  conquering  of  the  most 
rugged  nature,  and  the  quiet  bearing  of  the  gireatest 
provocation*  it  would  be  like  the  bit  and  bridle  to 
the  horse  and  mule,  that  have  no  understanding. 
It  may  be  of  good  use  every  morning  to  renew  a 
charge  upon  our  affections  to  keep  the  peace,  and 
having  welcomed  Christ  in  faith  and  meditation,  let 
no  rude  unruly  passion  stir  up  or  awake  our  love. 

3.  Ktej)  Old  ^f  the  w^y  ef  jrrxivocation,  and  stand 
upon  your  guard  against  it.  While  w^e  are  so  very 
apt  to  offend  in  this  matter,  we  have  need  to  pray, 
and  to  practice  accordingly,  "Lord,  lead  us  not 
into  temptation,"  Those  are  enemies  to  themselves 
and  to  their  own  peace,  as  well  as  to  human  society, 
who  seek  occasion  of  quarrel,  who  fish  for  provoca- 
tions and  dig  up  mischief;  but  meek  and  quiet  peo- 
ple will,  on  the  contrary,  studiously  avoid  even  that 
which  is  justly  provoking,  and  will  see  it  as  if  they 
saw  it  not.  Those  that  would  not  be  angry  must 
wink  at  that  which  would  stir  wp  finger,  or  piU  a  fa* 


vorable  consiruclion  upon  it.  The  advice  of  the 
wise  man  is  very  good  to  the  purpose :  "Also  take 
no  heed  to  all  words  that  are  spoken,  lest  thou  hear 
thy  servant  curse  thee ;"  and  it  is  better  for  thee  not 
to  hear  it,  unless  thou  canst  hear  it  patientl}^  and 
not  be  provoked  to  sin.  It  is  a  common  story  oi 
Cotys,  that,  being  presented  with  a  cupboard  of  cu- 
rious glasses,  he  returned  his  thanks  to  his  friend 
that  had  sent  them,  and  gratified  the  messenger  that 
brought  them,  and  then  deliberately  broke  them  all, 
lest,  by  the  casual  breaking  of  them  severally,  he 
should  be  provoked  to  passion.  And  Dion  relates 
it,  to  the  honor  of  Julius  Caesar,  that  Pompey's  ca- 
binet of  letters  coming  to  his  hand,  he  Avould  not 
read  them  because  he  was  his  enemy,  and  he  would 
be  likely  to  find  in  them  that  which  would  increase 
the  quarrel ;  "  and  therefore,"  as  Dr.  Reynolds  eX' 
presses  it,  "he  chose  rather  to  make  a  fire  on  his 
hearth  than  in  his  heart." 

But  seeing  "briers  and  thorns  are  with  us,"  and 
Ave  "  dwell  among  scorpions,"  and  "  it  must  needs 
be  that  offences  come,"  let  us  be  so  much  the  more 
careful,  as  we  are  when  we  go  with  a  candle  among 
powder,  and  exercise  ourselves  to  have  consciences 
void  of  offence,  nor  apt  to  offend  others,  nor  to  re* 
sent  the  offences  of  others.  When  we  are  at  any 
time  engaged  in  business  or  company  where  we 
foresee  provocation,  we  must  double  our  watch,  and 
be  more  than  ordinarily  circumspect.    "  I  will  keep 


my  mouth  with  a  bridle,"  (says  David,)  that  is,  with 
a  particular  actual  care  and  diligence  while  the 
wicked  is  before  me,  and  frequent  acts  will  confirm 
the  good  disposition  and  bring  it  to  a  habit.  Plu- 
tarch advises  "to  set  some  time  to  ourselves  for 
special  strictness;  so  many  days  or  weeks,  in  which, 
whatever  provocations  do  occur,  we  will  not  suffer 
ourselves  to  be  disturbed  hy  them."  And  thus  he 
supposes,  by  degrees,  the  habit  of  vicious  anger  may 
be  conquered  and  subdued.  But,  after  all,  the  grace 
of  faith  has  the  surest  influence  upon  the  establish- 
ment and  quietness  of  the  spirit :  faith  establishes 
the  mercy  of  God,  the  meekness  of  Christ,  the  love 
of  the  Spirit,  the  commands  of  the  word,  the  prom- 
ises of  the  covenant,  and  the  peace  and  quietness  of 
the  upper  world ;  this  is  the  approved  shield,  with 
Avhich  we  may  be  able  to  quench  all  the  fiery  darts 
of  the  wicked  one,  and  all  his  wicked  instruments. 

4.  Learn  to  jmuse.  It  is  a  good  rule,  as  in  our 
communion  with  God,  so  in  our  converse  with  men, 
*'  Be  not  rash  with  thy  mouth,  and  let  not  thine  heart 
be  hasty  to  utter  any  thing."  When  at  any  time  we 
are  provoked,  delays  may  be  as  advantageous  as  in 
other  cases  they  are  dangerous.  *'  The  discretion 
of  a  man  deferreth  his  anger."  "  I  would  beat  thee," 
said  Socrates  to  his  servant,  •'  if  I  were  not  angry;" 
but  "he  that  is  hast}"  of  spirit,"  that  joins  in  with  his 
anger  upon  the  first  rise  of  it,  "exalteth  folly."  The 
office  of  reason  is  to  govern  the  passions,  but  then 

152  HEXRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

we  must  give  time  to  act,  and  not  suffer  the  tongue 
to  overrun  it.  Some  have  advised,  when  Ave  are 
provoked  to  anger,  to  take  at  least  so  much  time  to 
deliberate  as  while  we  repeat  the  alphabet;  and 
others  have  thought  it  more  proper  to  repeat  the 
Lord's  Prayer,  and  perhaps  by  the  time  we  are  pai5t 
the  fifth  petition,  "  forgive  us  our  trespasses,  as  we 
forgive  them  that  trespass  against  us,"  w^e  may  be 
reduced  into  temper.  It  is  a  good  rule,  '*  to  think 
twice  before  we  speak  once ;"  for  he  that  hasteth 
with  his  feet  sinneth.  It  was  the  noted  saying  of  a 
great  statesman  in  queen  Elizabeth's  court,  "  Take 
time,  and  we  shall  have  done  the  sooner."  Nor  can 
there  be  any  thing  lost  by  deferring  our  anger ;  for 
there  is  nothing  said  or  done  in  our  wrath,  but  it 
might  be  better  said  and  better  done  in  meekness. 

5.  Pray  to  God  hy  his  Spirit  to  work  in  you  this 
e.xcdlerU  grace  of  meekness  and  quietness  of  spirit. 
It  is  a  part  of  that  comeliness  which  he  puts  upon 
the  soul,  and  he  must  be  sought  unto  for  it.  If  any 
man  lack  this  meekness  of  v^^isdom,  let  him  ask  it 
of  God,  who  gives  liberally,  and  does  not  upbraid 
us  with  our  folly.  When  we  begin  at  any  time  to 
be  froward  and  unquiet,  w^e  must  lift  a  prayer  to 
Him  who  stills  the  noise  of  the  sea,  for  that  grace 
Avhich  establishes  the  heart.  When  David's  heart 
was  hot  within  him,  the  first  word  that  broke  out 
w^as  a  prayer.  Psalm  39  :  3,  4.  When  we  are  sur- 
prised  wMth  a  provocation,  and  begin  to  be  in  a  fer- 


ment  upon  it,  it  will  not  only  be  a  present  diversion, 
but  a  sovereign  cure  to  lift  up  an  ejaculation  to  God 
for  grace  and  strength  to  resist  and  overcome  the 
temptation  :  "  Lord,  keep  me  quiet  now  !"  Let  your 
requests  in  this  matter  be  made  known  to  God ;  and 
"  the  peace  of  God  shall  keep  your  hearts  and 
minds."  You  are  ready  enough  to  complain  of  un- 
quiet people  about  you;  but  you  have  more  reason 
to  complain  of  unquiet  passions  within  you;  the 
other  are  but  thorns  in  the  hedge,  these  are  thorns 
in  the  flesh,  against  w^hich,  if  you  beseech  the  Lord, 
as  Paul  did,  with  faith,  and  fervency,  and  constancy, 
you  shall  receive  grace  sufficient. 

6.  Be  often  examinmg  your  growth  and  profi- 
ciency in  this  grace.  Inquire  what  command  you 
have  gained  over  your  passions,  and  what  improve- 
ments you  have  made  in  meekness.  Provocations 
recur  every  day,  such  as  have  been  wont  perhaps  to 
throw  you  into  a  passion  ;  these  give  you  an  oppor- 
tunity to  make  the  trial.  Do  you  And  that  you  are 
less  subject  to  anger ;  and  when  angry,  that  you  are 
less  transported  by  it  than  formerly  ;  that  your  ap- 
prehension of  injuries  is  less  quick,  and  that  your 
resentments  are  less  keen  than  usual  ?  Is  the  little 
kingdom  of  your  mind  more  quiet  than  it  has  been, 
and  the  discontented  party  weakened  and  kept  under? 
It  is  well  if  it  be  so,  and  a  good  sign  that  the  soul 
prospers  and  is  in  health.  We  should  examine  every 
night  whether  we  have  been  quiet  all  day.  We  shall 

154  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

sleep  the  better  if  we  find  we  have.  Let  conscience 
keep  up  a  grand  inquest  in  the  soul,  under  a  charge 
from  the  Judge  of  heaven  and  earth  to  inquire,  and 
due  presentment  make,  of  all  riots,  routs,  and  breach- 
es of  the  peace  within  us ;  and  let  nothing  be  left 
unpresented  for  favor,  affection,  or  self-love  ;  nor  let 
any  thing  presented  be  left  unprosecuted  according 
to  law.  Those  whose  natural  temper,  or  their  age, 
or  diseases,  lead  them  to  be  hasty,  have  an  opportu- 
nity, by  their  meekness  and  gentleness,  to  discover 
both  the  truth  and  strength  of  grace  in  general ;  for 
it  is  the  surest  mark  of  uprightness,  to  "  keep  our- 
selves from  our  own  iniquity."  And  yet,  if  the 
children  of  God  bring  forth  these  fruits  of  the  spi- 
rit in  old  age,  when  commonly  men  are  most  fro- 
ward  and  peevish,  it  shows  not  only  that  they  are 
upright,  but  rather  that  "  the  Lord  is  upright,"  in 
whose  strength  they  stand;  that  "he  is  their  rock, 
and  there  is  no  unrighteousness  in  him." 

7.  Delight  in  the  company  of  meek  and  quiet  per- 
sons. Solomon  prescribes  it  as  a  preservative  against 
foolish  passion,  to  "make  no  friendship  with  an  an- 
gry man  lest  thou  learn  his  w^ays."  When  thy 
neighbor's  house  is  on  fire,  it  is  time  to  look  to  thy 
own.  But  man  is  a  sociable  creature,  and  made  for 
converse;  let  us  therefore,  since  we  must  have  some 
company,  choose  to  have  fellowship  with  those  who 
are  meek  and  quiei,  that  we  may  learn  their  way, 
for  it  is  a  good  way.  The  wolf  is  no  companion  for 

RULES    OF    DIRECTIOJr..  155 

the  lamb,  nor  the  leopard  for  the  kid,  till  they  have 
forgot  to  *'  hurt  and  destroy."  Company  is  assimi- 
lating-, and  we  are  apt  insensibly  to  grow  like  those 
with  whom  we  ordinarily  converse,  especially  with 
whom  we  delight  to  converse  ;  therefore  let  the  quiet 
in  the  land  be  the  men  of  our  choice,  especially  into 
standing  relations  and  bosom  friendship.  Observe 
in  others  how  sweet  and  amiable  meekness  is,  and 
what  a  heaven  upon  earth  those  enjoy  who  have  the 
command  of  their  own  passions,  and  study  to  tran- 
scribe such  copies.  There  are  those  who  take  a 
pleasure  in  riotous  company,  and  are  never  well  but 
when  they  are  in  the  midst  of  noise  and  clamor. 
Surely  heaven  would  not  be  heaven  to  such,  for  that 
is  a  calm  and  quiet  region  :  no  noise  there  but  what 
is  sweet  and  harmonious. 

8.  Sindy  the  cross  of  our  Lord  Jesus.  Did  we 
but  know  more  of  Jesus  Christ  and  him  crucified, 
we  should  experience  more  of  the  fellowship  of  his 
sufferings.  Think  often  how  and  in  what  manner 
he  suffered  :  see  him  led  as  a  lamb  to  the  slaughter, 
and  arm  yourselves  with  the  same  mind.  Think 
also  why  and  for  what  end  he  suffered,  that  you  may 
not  in  any  thing  contradict  the  design  of  your  dying 
Savior,  nor  receive  his  grace  in  vain.  Christ  died 
as  the  great  peace-maker,  to  take  down  all  partition- 
walls,  to  quench  all  threatening  flames,  and  to  re- 
concile his  followers,  not  only  to  God,  but  one  to 
another,  by  the  slaying  of  all  enmities.  Eph.  2  ; 
14,  16.    The  apostle  often  prescribes  a  believing  re- 

156  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

gard  to  the  sufferings  of  Christ  as  a  powerful  allay 
to  all  sinful  and  intemperate  heats,  as  Eph.  5  ;  2 ; 
Phil.  2  :  5,  &c.  Those  who  would  show  forth  tho 
meek  and  humble  life  of  Christ  in  their  mortal  bo- 
dies,  must  bear  about  with  them  continually  "  the 
(lying  of  the  Lord  Jesus."  The  ordinance  of  the 
Lord's  Supper,  in  which  we  show  forth  the  Lord's 
death,  and  the  new  testament  in  his  blood,  must 
therefore  be  improved  by  us  for  this  blessed  end,  as 
a  love-feast,  at  which  all  our  sinful  passions  must  be 
laid  aside;  and  a  marriage-feast,  where  the  ornament 
of  a  meek  and  quiet  spirit  is  a  considerable  part  of 
the  wedding-garment.  The  forgiving  of  injuries,  and 
a  reconciliation  to  our  brother,  is  both  a  necessary 
branch  of  our  preparation  for  that  ordinance,  and  a 
good  evidence  and  instance  of  our  profiting  by  it. 

9.  Converse  much  in  your  thoughts  toith  the  dark 
and  silent  grave.  You  meet  Avith  many  things  now 
that  disturb  and  disquiet  you,  and  much  ado  yon 
have  to  bear  them  :  think  how  quiet  death  Avill  make 
you,  and  how  incapable  of  resenting  or  resisting 
injuries,  and  what  an  easy  prey  this  fiesli,  for  which 
you  are  so  jealous,  will  shortly  be  to  the  worm  that 
shall  feed  sweetly  on  it.  You  will,  ere  long,  be  out 
of  the  reach  of  provocation,  "  where  the  >vicked 
cease  from  troubling,"  and  where  their  envy  and 
their  hatred  is  for  ever  perished.  And  is  not  a  quiet 
spirit  the  best  preparative  for  that  quiet  state  ?  Think 
how  all  these  things,  which  now  disquiet  us,  will 
appear  when  we  come  to  look  death  in  the  face ; 

RULES    OF    Dli.ECTIOX.  157 

how  small  and  inconsiderable  they  seem  to  one  that 
is  stepping"  into  eternity.  Think,  "  what  need  is 
there  that  I  should  so  resent  an  affront  or  injury, 
that  am  but  a  worm  to-day,  and  may  be  the  food  of 
worms  to-morrow?" 

A  liitle  sprinkling  of  the  dust  of  the  grave,  upon 
the  brink  of  which  we  stand,  would  do  much  toward.^ 
quieting  our  spirits  and  ending  our  quarrels.  Death 
will  quiet  us  shortly  :  jet  grace  quiet  us  now.  When 
David's  heart  was  hot  within  him,  he  prayed,  "  Lord, 
make  me  to  know  my  end." 

To  conclude — I  know  no  errand  that  I  can  come 
upon  of  this  kind  to  you,  in  which  methinks  I  should 
be  more  likely  to  prevail  than  in  this ;  so  much  does 
meekness  conduce  to  the  comfort  and  repose  of  our 
oion  souls,  and  the  making  of  our  lives  sweet  and 
pleasant.  If  thou  be  wise  herein,  thou  shalt  be  wise 
for  thyself.  That  which  I  have  been  so  intent  upon 
in  this  discourse,  is  only  to  persuade  you  not  to  be 
your  own  tormentors,  but  to  govern  your  own  pas- 
sions so  that  they  may  not  be  furies  to  yourselves. 
The  ornament  I  have  been  recommending  to  you  is 
confessedly  excellent  and  lovely ;  will  you  put  it 
on  and  wear  it,  that  by  this  all  men  may  know  that 
you  are  Christ's  disciples,  and  you  may  be  found 
among  the  sheep  on  the  right  hand,  at  the  great 
day,  when  Christ's  angels  shall  gather  out  of  his 
kingdom  every  thing  that  offends  ?  Every  one  will 
give  meekness  a   good   word ;    but   in   this,  as  in 

H.  M.  14 

158  HENRY    ON    MEEKNESS. 

Other  instances,  honesty  is  applauded,  yet  neglected. 
Love  is  commended  by  all,  and  yet  the  love  of 
many  waxeth  cold ;  but  let  all  that  would  not  be  self- 
condemned  practice  what  they  praise.  And  as  there 
ii;  nothing  in  which  I  should  more  expect  to  prevail, 
so  there  is  nothing  in  which  it  will  easier  appear 
whether  I  have  prevailed  or  no ;  this  tree  will  soon 
be  known  by  its  fruits ;  so  many  are  the  circum- 
stances of  almost  every  day  A^hich  call  for  the  exer- 
cise of  this  grace,  that  our  profiting  therein  will 
quickly  appear  to  ourselves,  and  to  all  with  whom 
we  converse.  Our  meekness  and  quietness  is  more 
obvious,  and  falls  more  directly  under  a  trial  and  ob- 
servation than  our  love  to  God  and  our  faith  in 
Christ,  and  other  graces,  the  exercise  whereof  lies 
more  immediately  between  God  and  our  own  souls, 
Shall  we  therefore  set  ourselves  to  manifest,  in  all 
our  converse,  that  we  have  indeed  received  good  by 
this  plain  discourse  ?  that  our  relations  and  neigh- 
bors, and  all  that  we  have  dealings  with,  may  ob- 
serve a  change  in  us  for  the  better,  and  may  take 
knowledge  of  us  that  we  have  been  with  Jesus. 
And  let  not  the  impressions  of  it  ever  wear  off,  but, 
^living  and  dying,  let  us  be  found  among  the  quiet  in 
the  land :  we  all  wish  to  see  quiet  families,  and  quiet 
churches,  and  quiet  neighborhoods,  and  quiet  na- 
tions ;  and  it  will  be  so  if  there  be  quiet  hearts,  and 
not  otherwise. 

THE    END. 

14  DAY  USE 









U   ! 

I       S:;4ct'l^